Final Hurdle Cleared for Amtrak - WSET.com - ABC13

Final Hurdle Cleared for Amtrak

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Roanoke, VA - Governor Bob McDonnell announced Thursday the Commonwealth signed an agreement that clears the final hurdle for Amtrak service returning to Roanoke from Lynchburg.

For months, ABC 13 has been reporting on the momentum the project has been gaining.

In reality, it all came down to whether or not the department of Rail and Transportation could strike a deal with Norfolk Southern.

Thursday's news shows they can.

What it all means is that Norfolk Southern has agreed to infrastructure improvements, between Roanoke and Lynchburg. The improvements must happen before passenger rail can come back.

Since passenger rail was taken off this route back in the late 1970's, the railroad has streamlined its track.

That's fine for freight, but not so much for the strict schedule demands of passenger service.

The news was welcomed by recently retired State Delegate, Onzlee Ware, who was part of the team that pushed the Transportation Bill through and helped make it all possible.

"It's a landmark piece of legislation that shows that we do better when we work together in a non-partisan way and we do absolutely nothing when we work in a partisan way. That's what I'm most proud about," Ware said.

With the agreement in place, design work will begin immediately.

Passenger train service from Roanoke to Boston can be expected within four years.

 

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