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VRE scales back Manassas line extension plans

VRE has settled on a plan that won't bring service to Gainesville or Haymarket, Va., in the near future.
Photo – Virginia Railway Express

The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) operations board late last week voted to advance the Broad Run Terminus Expansion alternative from the Gainesville-Haymarket Extension Study.

Instead of extending VRE's Manassas line to Gainesville or Haymarket, Va., the chosen alternative calls for expanding storage at the Broad Run Yard to allow for additional capacity on the line.

The board based its decision on an analysis showing that the Broad Run alternative was the most cost effective means of addressing future service needs along the Manassas line, VRE officials said in a press release.

The chosen alternative is expected to enable VRE to add six trains a day to the line, Northern Virginia news site reported last week.

Although extending the line to Gainesville or Haymarket remains a long-term goal for local elected officials, it isn't something they plan to consider in the near future, the news site reported.

The operations board's vote on the alternative allows VRE to move into the project's second phase, which will include completion of preliminary engineering and preparation for environmental evaluation, agency officials said in a press release.

An early step in the next phase will involve continuing coordination with Norfolk Southern Railway, which owns track in the area.

"With the decision, the board demonstrated its vision to ensure VRE remains a critical component of the Northern Virginia transportation system well into the future, while at the same time being committed to ensuring investments provide the most value for the taxpayers' dollars," said VRE Chief Executive Officer Doug Allen in a press release.

The alternative was one of five that VRE examined as part of the study. Other alternatives included eliminating the Broad Run station and expanding the line as far as Gainesville or Haymarket.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/20/2017