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Virginia Governor proposes funds for Roanoke Extension


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#21 jis

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:28 PM

The Farmville stop was on the old N & W mainline between Petersburg and Roanoke. That line is now a very nice bike trail - and NS is using another route between Petersburg & Roanoke - I think it was part of the original "Virginian Railway" Right of way.

As far as I can tell the proposal that I have seen uses all ex-NW trackage, whether it takes off from Richmond or Petersburg. The latter will require the construction of another connecting track at Collier.

 

Now if it is going to avoid Lynchburg and go straight to Roanoke then it could use the ex Virginian trackage from Abilene Connection west. The Virginian trackage east of there has been abandoned long time back. But I suspect that they will not bypass Lynchburg on that route should it come to pass. Of course getting this service to use the Kemper St. station in Lynchburg will require some weird backup moves too.



#22 dlagrua

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:42 PM

Here is what they now have in Roanoke.
exteriornight.jpg
The station is still in beautiful shape and right on the NS line.

Correction: The Norfolk & Western Union Station in Roanoke was not designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The station was restored and redesigned by famed industrial designer, Raymond Loewy. It is a beautiful modernesque design that houses the O Winston Link museum on the basment floor.

Edited by dlagrua, 29 January 2013 - 06:49 PM.


#23 jis

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:22 PM

Here is what they now have in Roanoke.
exteriornight.jpg
The station is still in beautiful shape and right on the NS line.

Correction: The Norfolk & Western Union Station in Roanoke was not designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The station was restored and redesigned by famed industrial designer, Raymond Loewy. It is a beautiful modernesque design that houses the O Winston Link museum on the basment floor.

The current Amtrak special operations that take place about once a year through Roanoke, apparently embark and disembark in the vicinity of this building.



#24 Anderson

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:37 PM

According to the extant TDX plans, the idea is to run such a train RVR-LYH-ROA (and potentially on to Bristol).


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#25 jis

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:41 PM

According to the extant TDX plans, the idea is to run such a train RVR-LYH-ROA (and potentially on to Bristol).

That would imply no usage of the ex-Virginian track since that bypasses LYH. And as I said getting any east - west train running through Lynchburg to the Kepmper Street Station will be an interesting exercise.



#26 railiner

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:59 PM

According to the extant TDX plans, the idea is to run such a train RVR-LYH-ROA (and potentially on to Bristol).

That would imply no usage of the ex-Virginian track since that bypasses LYH. And as I said getting any east - west train running through Lynchburg to the Kepmper Street Station will be an interesting exercise.

Back when, The Mountaineer, and later The Hilltopper, used the N&W station at Woodall Road....


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#27 Anderson

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:38 PM

While that might be a workable option, I suspect that the state is going to be leery about having different trains using entirely different stations, if just because of the confusion potential (to say nothing of lost connection potential where applicable).  I'm also getting the feeling that a direct RVR-LYH connection is going to be behind several other projects in terms of state priority, too.


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#28 abcnews

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:27 PM

I would guess that RVR to LYH and Roanoke is unlikely. Just not enough passenger traffic.   I'm thinking that the future of Amtrak in Roanoke will be tied to the Northeast corridor (North-South direction via Lynchburg) and the heavy volume of passengers it would draw, verses an East-West route to Petersburg or Richmond that is not very direct, through little populated areas on meandering rail lines that are already heavy laden with coal traffic.


Edited by abcnews, 29 January 2013 - 09:32 PM.

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#29 Anderson

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:03 PM

I would guess that RVR to LYH and Roanoke is unlikely. Just not enough passenger traffic.   I'm thinking that the future of Amtrak in Roanoke will be tied to the Northeast corridor (North-South direction via Lynchburg) and the heavy volume of passengers it would draw, verses an East-West route to Petersburg or Richmond that is not very direct, through little populated areas on meandering rail lines that are already heavy laden with coal traffic.

Well, I suspect that the long long-term plan is likely going to be for the TDX to run from Hampton Roads to Roanoke.  The other thing is that your east-west options connecting ROA or LYH and NFK/NPN come in two varieties: Out of the way and winding.  ROA-RVR is three hours, give-or-take, and the "fastest" route takes you right by Staunton.  So I suspect there's at least a modest market for this, especially once you add in north/south connections it would enable (Silvers from LYH/ROA, Crescent from RVR/Hampton Roads), to say nothing of erratic winter weather in that part of the state.


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#30 afigg

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:56 PM

News update on the VA transportation funding bill. After coming up with 2 very different bills to raise around $900 million a year in additional revenue for state transportation funding, the VA House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on a revised bill. Washington Post article "House, Senate negotiators strike Va. transportation deal". The bill has to be voted on and passed by both houses, but it appears likely that it will pass. I will skip over the revenue, gas tax, and sales tax specifics as the article covers that.

 

My understanding is that the different bills passed by the VA House and Senate had the funding in them for the passenger rail and transit funding proposed by the Governor. So the odds are very good that the Virginia DRPT will get the funds to advance the service extension to Roanoke, implement the track upgrades for 3 daily trains to Norfolk in the next 3-4 years. The additional proposed transit funding will provide $300 million for the DC Metro Silver Line Phase 2 project to Dulles Airport and should provide a larger pot for other transit projects to tap in future years.

 

Will have to wait and see what happens to transportation revenue and funding increases in Maryland, PA, and MA.



#31 Anderson

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:22 AM

I'll make a call or two over the next few days and see what's actually in the bill.  I'm guessing that the $50m/yr for intercity passenger rail will be there, but I've got no clue on the rest.  The way the numbers have been going on state services, this likely means we'll have between $50 and $55 million/year for capital costs (since it seems quite likely that the capital charges and what have you will more or less be taken care of, and then some, by surging revenue).


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#32 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:10 AM

News update on the VA transportation funding bill. After coming up with 2 very different bills to raise around $900 million a year in additional revenue for state transportation funding, the VA House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on a revised bill. Washington Post article "House, Senate negotiators strike Va. transportation deal". The bill has to be voted on and passed by both houses, but it appears likely that it will pass. I will skip over the revenue, gas tax, and sales tax specifics as the article covers that.

 

My understanding is that the different bills passed by the VA House and Senate had the funding in them for the passenger rail and transit funding proposed by the Governor. So the odds are very good that the Virginia DRPT will get the funds to advance the service extension to Roanoke, implement the track upgrades for 3 daily trains to Norfolk in the next 3-4 years. The additional proposed transit funding will provide $300 million for the DC Metro Silver Line Phase 2 project to Dulles Airport and should provide a larger pot for other transit projects to tap in future years.

 

Will have to wait and see what happens to transportation revenue and funding increases in Maryland, PA, and MA.

Hopefully some good will come out of this mess.  I read enough to know that the agreement seems pretty screwy.  I've heard it said somewhere that it is truly a comprimise because nobody likes it.  While there are times when that means it is a good middle of the road agreement, this appears to be like a platypus.  An animal designed by a committee that could never fundamentaly agree on the most basic question of what type of animal they were making. :wacko:


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#33 Guest_Ribbon50_*

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:04 AM

Re: Richmond-Roanoke and West.  The track setup with original downtown location of Union Station in LYH would have made use of Kemper Street station easy with a connecting switch.  The track west of the old station location has been removed but could be restored through the tunnel near Rivermont Av. and a connection to NS main made west of the tunnel.  I don't know what this would cost, however.  Originally, N&W trains from Union Station would head directly west to Roanoke avoiding the Southern but crossing the line N of Kemper Street.  Trains to Durham would use a track parallel to Southern line passing Kemper Street--there was a small station at 12th street, too.  As a child I would visit Kemper Street and occasionally see an old N&W steam locomotive pulling a 2-3 car passenger train on the line parallel to Kemper St.



#34 jis

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:18 PM

And then of course there is the added complication of the possible proposal to build a station by Liberty University in Lynchburg too

#35 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:09 PM

While many details are still missing, here is my Delegate's (as in the Virginia House of Delegates) take on the agreement. 


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#36 Ryan

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:40 PM

Interesting take on the agreement, but HOLY COW! What a breath of fresh air to have an elected representative that interacts with their constituents without just regurgitating some talking points and isn't afraid to say "I'm not sure, I'm still considering where I stand on this".
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#37 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:03 PM

Interesting take on the agreement, but HOLY COW! What a breath of fresh air to have an elected representative that interacts with their constituents without just regurgitating some talking points and isn't afraid to say "I'm not sure, I'm still considering where I stand on this".

I here you.  I think he might be the most constituent responsive elected official I've ever had.  He grew up in the jurisdiction and seems to really care about the area he represents.


Edited by The Davy Crockett, 21 February 2013 - 03:04 PM.

I wish I was a headlight on a northbound of the border train.

#38 Anderson

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:28 AM

Ok, I had a discussion with someone I know.  It looks like IPROC got its funding ($50m/yr or so) and I know the Silver Line gets the aforementioned $300 million.  I do not know the status of the Mass Transit Trust Fund that's supposed to get funded...I went to the state legislative site, and the bill's current form isn't up yet for a very simple reason: They're still proofreading it for connected changes to what was agreed upon (i.e. making sure that cross-references are updated where something had to be renumbered, making sure that appropriation numbers add up, etc.).  But I've been assured that IPROC was funded, which should protect Amtrak operations in VA on a long-term basis.

 

I've also been told that passage looks likely.  It isn't certain (thanks to the situation in the Senate; since this is a tax bill, the Lt. Gov. can't vote), but it seems likely.


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#39 afigg

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:56 PM

The compromise transportation funding bill was passed by the VA Senate on a 25-15 vote. There were some minute hurdles over Medicaid with Cuccinelli trying to interfer with the deal, but it passed. It is hardly an ideal transportation bill in how it cuts the effective gas tax while increasing the state sales tax. It is also quite a complicated bill with fees, provisions, new wholesale taxes on gasoline & diesel, but this is not a forum to discuss transportation tax and revenue policy for Virginia.

 

The good news is that the bill passed and there will be additional funding for passenger rail and transit projects in the state. Hopefully Virginia DRPT will get going on the Roanoke extension, capacity upgrades for Norfolk service fairly quickly after the start of the state fiscal year 2014 on July 1. Attorney General Cuccinelli will be the Republican nominee for Governor in the state elections this November and he has made it quite clear that he is no fan of transit projects and I expect passenger rail. If he is elected Governor (my one outright political comment on that thought  :o  :help: ) , he may try to squash or delay passenger rail projects despite broad support from members in both parties. If the Roanoke extension has started track work and Roanoke is already planning for the day the passenger train returns to Roanoke, it will be difficult for him to kill it.

 

If VDRPT and NS can work at the same speed on the Roanoke extension track projects that they did with the Norfolk service starting it months earlier than originally projected, that would be a welcome course of events. So by sometime in 2016, Amtrak service to Roanoke?

 



#40 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 06:18 AM

The compromise transportation funding bill was passed by the VA Senate on a 25-15 vote.  


Somehow it feels like we won the battle but lost the war. This bill is going to come back and haunt us down the road when the lack of real new funding for transportation - that this bill ignores - comes home to roost. But that will be long enough down the road that the people who "crafted" this mess will have moved on to screwing up greater things!

 

:angry2:  :angry2: :angry2:  


Edited by The Davy Crockett, 24 February 2013 - 06:20 AM.

I wish I was a headlight on a northbound of the border train.




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