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NS, Virginia rail department cap off key Crescent Corridor project


Norfolk Southern Railway recently reached a milestone with its Crescent Corridor intermodal route initiative. Yesterday, the Class I and Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) announced they finished reconfiguring a rail junction near Front Royal, Va., eliminating a critical choke point on Interstate 81 along the 2,500-mile corridor NS plans to establish between New Jersey and Louisiana.

The project was the “final and most complex of six capacity improvement projects in northern Virginia” designed to accommodate more trains at higher speeds, NS and DRPT officials said in a prepared statement. Funded by $43 million from DRPT and about $20 million from NS through a public-private partnership, the projects involved lengthening or building new passing tracks between Manassas and Front Royal, installing five miles of double track near the Virginia Inland Port, improving signal and traffic control systems, and increasing train speeds through Riverton Junction near Front Royal.

“The completion of these I-81 corridor improvements will benefit both freight and passenger-rail service in Virginia,” said DRPT Director Thelma Drake. “This capacity will attract more trucks from the highways to trains, as well as facilitate future passenger expansion in northern Virginia.”

First proposed in July 2007, the Crescent Corridor would be the single-largest addition of new freight transportation capacity in the nation since the interstate system was developed in the 1960s, according to NS. To be funded through a public-private partnership between the Class I, federal government and 13 states, the corridor would include more than $2 billion worth of projects designed to improve freight-rail/intermodal service and reduce congestion along several highways, including I-81, I-85, I-20, I-40, I-59 and I-75.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/20/2010