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Happy to report that Amtrak has reversed itself and WILL NOT cancel a second train-set operating between Newport News and DC via Main Street Station. :thumbsup:

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The RMA has started construction on splitting the Main Powhite Toll Plaza. It will create 3 Smarttag Express lanes in each direction, which will be separate from the Exact Change/Full Service Lanes.

It will substantially increase the capacity of the Expressway system and greatly reduce 'congestion' at the tolls.

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That's awesome. It burns me up that the smart tag folks have to navigate through all of the people that can't be inconvenienced to get a smart tag.

Seriously, why is it that so many people that commute regularly through tolls don't have smart tags? The RMA certainly does a poor job advertising it. There should be a big billboard explaining how to get a smart tag and describing the 10% smart tag discount.

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Happy to report that Amtrak has reversed itself and WILL NOT cancel a second train-set operating between Newport News and DC via Main Street Station. :thumbsup:

That's great to hear.

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That was a scare! I'd be very sorry to see this service curtailed. It would be nice to see more trains going in and out of Main Street Station. I hate the Amshack at Staples Mill Road.

Edited by tombarnes

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That was a scare! I'd be very sorry to see this service curtailed. It would be nice to see more trains going in and out of Main Street Station. I hate the Amshack at Staples Mill Road.

An article in this month's TRAINS magazine lambasts CSX for the preference it gives freight traffic over Amtrak. It says "on-time performance of the five pairs of long distance trains (Amtrak) operates over CSX between Washington and Florida has collapsed."

It goes on "Not once between May 27 and late July did the New York-to-Miami Silver Star or Silver Meteor arrive on time at their destinations". The article reports that The Auto Train "racked up an unbroken string of late arrivals between June 4 and July 23. As of Aug. 3, The Palmetto, between New York and Savannah, hadn't run on time since June 15, and the New York-to-Charlotte Carolinian had been on time just twice since June 13. Amtrak considers a long-distance train to be on time if it arrives within 30 minutes of its schedule".

All of the above trains pass thru Staples Mill Station in Richmond. It is hoped that one day they will all, except The Auto Train, call at Main Street Station as well. The triple crossing allows only single-level cars to pass under the CSX viaduct at that famous juncture.

Edited by burt

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I'm new here, but just curious. How many people here have actually taken a ride on Amtrak? Its slow, overpriced, inconvenient, always late, and the staff is often rude. I love trains, and would love to see a highly developed rail network in this country, but it is not possible with Amtrak. The government should stop wasting the money. What they should do is remove the imposed prohibition on regular intercity passenger rail service by both private and public/state-owned companies, and see what happens. Good or necessary rail service would survive, poor or unnecessary service would fade away.

As for Richmond:

* A downtown/Fan/Church Hill hertiage trolley would be nice, especially for the tourists.

* Commuter lines to Fredericksburg (with DC connection), Williamsburg (with airport and Hamptn Roads connections), and Petersburg might be moderately useful, but I doubt it.

*Light rail to Midlothian or Short Pump would be a waste.

*Overall, the metro is far too low-density with widely dispersed job centers for an effective rail mass transit system. Just as many people work in the Innsbrook/West Broad Corridor as downtown.

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Given the measly appropriations by Congress and the present Administration it is remarkable that Amtrak runs any trains at all. I can't see many private investors taking over an inherent losing rail system. Certainly, not CSX!

The commuter line to Fredericksburg, or extension of VRE, would have to use CSX trackage and that particular Railroad is inhospitable to passenger traffic.l

I agree that Richmond is not ready for fixed rail to connect the region's burgeoning developments. Perhaps someday, but not at this time, IMO.

Rubber-wheeled vehicles would be more appropriate than streetcars for Fan/Church Hill connections. Various routes could try out for the heaviest loads and not be bound by fixed trackage.

I can see the possibility of commuter connection via N/S from downtown to Watkins Center.

Welcome, Stolypin, and please contribute to this and other threads.

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Given the measly appropriations by Congress and the present Administration it is remarkable that Amtrak runs any trains at all. I can't see many private investors taking over an inherent losing rail system. Certainly, not CSX!

The sad thing is that, even though the Federal Gov't OWNS Amtrak, it gives more money to individual PRIVATELY-OWNED airlines. If private industry takes over passenger rail, expect most passenger routes to disappear.

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From the meeting, Richmond is very close to connecting with Raleigh and DC. They are in the process of developing a High Speed Rail from DC to Richmond to Raleigh and beyond. They expect apporoval sometime next year.

Another note, as of now, Richmond only has 4 Amtrak Trains coming through Main Street Station daily. They will be adding more within a few months. "Main Street Station will be becoming much busier, and start to feel like a real train station."

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This is really great news. I haven't heard anything on this for awhile. The Norfolk area will also have a leg connecting us to the network. You can check out the website here.

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Tommy I am very glad to see this in Richmond even though you already told me last night on AIM but I know this is going to bring alot more businesses to Richmond hopefully.

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A friend stopping over in Richmond was setting off to Newport News on Thursday, October 26th. I took him to Main Street Station to catch the 5:12pm train which had originated earlier in the day in Boston.. It was late, of course, but meanwhile the 5:30PM arrival FROM Newport News would have arrived at MSS on time if stupid CSX dispatching office in Jacksonville had not held it on the trestle in front of Tobacco Row waiting for the 5:12 southbound to clear the single track in the station. The single track stretch runs less than a mile from about Bottoms Up Pizza thru the station to Hospital Street; the remainder of the line is double-tracked. Finally, about 5:30 the MSS attendant was advised that the Newport News bound 5:12 was finally leaving Staples Mill. Mind you, it takes 25 scheduled minutes for Amtrak to cover the 8 miles of CSX track between SM and MSS. My friend got on his train at about 6 o'clock, but meanwhile the northbound train, which could have long since come and gone, was still sitting out there waiting clearance to enter Main Street Station and was at last allowed by Jacksonville to creep into the station 45 unnecessary minutes late. Is there any wonder riders hesitate to use rail travel south of Washington?

Incidentally, there were about 20 passengers waiting for one or other of the two trains. About five got off the train from Boston, but I did not wait around to see if anyone debarked from the northbound.

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Virginians for High Speed Rail are petitioning the Governor's Rail Advisory Board to back rail projects. Noting that AMTRAK runs late south of Washington far more often than not, VHSR wants more state money directed to track improvements.

Fat chance! The state already has footed the bill for the new bridge across a river near Quantico and some minor improvements along the DC/Richmond corridor. But the road's owner, CSX, is the entity benefitting without contributing significant funds.

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As i reported in another thread, two passenger ships were scheduled to call at Richmond's Intermediate Terminal (old Annabell Lee dock) during November. I think both have come and gone, but did any of you wharf rats happen to see the SS Nantucket? It's a small cruise ship and I believe its itinerary began in Charleston heading north to ports in New England.

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Anyone go to the meeting in Richmond regarding light rail transit? Apparently, they say that Richmond has a plan on the table for light rail, but I haven't heard too much about it lately. I think the cost of building one is a major hindering factor in getting one built in Richmond. However, I've always envisioned Richmond having a light rail transit system and I think it would be a great thing to have and would be used a whole lot especially if it connects communties like the one proposed at Staples Mill, Short Pump, and downtown.

Here's a link to the story in the RTD:

RTD Article

Edited by eandslee

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I think this new transit system is gonna be really awesome its gonna help traffic down their alot I hope. But the only thing is that laying down all the track is not an easy thing trying to lay all the tracks down their is gonna be a hard task once all the planning and approvement is done.

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I had no idea light rail started in Richmond in 1888. I hope the city will listen and consider light rail. A lot of dense TOD or transit oriented development areas are already in place in the city proper and LR will link them and even grow them more.

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Councilman Pantele proposes new transit methods

Basically, Pantele is bringing back to life the proposal for downtown circulators linking the Bottom to as far west as the Boulevard. Initially, alternative fuel vehicles would be used, but they would run on routes that will eventually be streetcar routes. The logic is that we'll use these rubber wheeled vehicles now while planning and getting funding for real light rail is being done.

Second District city councilman Bill Pantele says the city needs to come up with a solution before the situation gets out of hand. "I'm going to be proposing a two loop downtown circulator to connect everything from the Farmer's Market in Shockoe Bottom to the Boulevard," says Pantele.

While Pantele likes the idea of streetcars, laying down rails is expensive and can take years. So instead of old-fashioned rail cars, he'd like to see hybrid vehicles that would share the road and run on a fixed schedule. Pantele says that would be faster and cheaper to put in place. "If we could have a stronger Richmond, a stronger region and a more cost-effective one, then aren't we all for that?"

....

Councilman Pantele says if the two downtown loops work, the city could begin work on a rail system in town.

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The nephew who loaned me his pick-up truck while visiting Richmond in October is Supervisor of construction on the new rail bridge across a river near Quantico. I believe he said in a brief Thanksgiving Day conversation that it will be ready for traffic by February. Meanwhile (and I think I've got this right), only Amtrak and VRE commuter trains have been using the existing bridge because of closure of a freight bridge over the Anacostia River in DC. CSX apparently has been rerouting freight traffic between Richmond and Washington.

This was a quick holiday family conversation, but I'm sure he was definite about no freight traffic across the existing span near Quantico.

Wish I could have found out more because the only rerouting I can imagine is via the old C&O Piedmont line fom Doswell to Gordonsville, thence CSX and N/S northward (reverse this for southbound traffic).

If anybody can elaborate on this report, I wish they would do so.

Incidentally, the new parallel bridge (eventually to carry two tracks with a third one on the existing CSX span) is being built by the State of Virginia - not CSX.

Edited by burt

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