Passenger rail service to the New River Valley got some good news recently as Governor Ralph Northam has included more than $30 million in his proposed 2021 budget to help fund the service and the Virginia House last week approved House Bill 1893, which would create a new NRV Rail Authority to oversee the project.
The plan for the authority is now headed to the state senate for its approval before the bill lands on the governor’s desk for his signature.
The Town of Christiansburg purchased a site for a platform/station several years ago across from the Christiansburg Aquatic Center. Grading for an overflow parking lot was completed last year, but no other work has been done on the site that lies along a double-tracked area of rail.
The idea of extending passenger rail service to the New River Valley has been on the table for almost 10 years, but the plan has hit several roadblocks, one of which has been Norfolk Southern’s operation of freight service using the same rail lines on which passenger service would travel. A proposed study to look at improvements necessary to make passenger service feasible was halted shortly before COVID-19.
State transportation officials are now optimistic that the study could be completed later this year.