NC-VA high speed trains starting slowly

October 14, 2014

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Plans for high-speed train service in North Carolina and Virginia are starting slowly.
State officials and rail proponents working on the idea who met in Raleigh on Thursday said they are not sure where to find the $4 billion it would take to establish high-speed service between Raleigh and Richmond, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

They are looking to start with slower trains, in hopes of getting a faster service later.
The Virginia Department of Public Transportation will hold four similar meetings in Virginia next month as part of the environmental impact statement process for development of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor.
A planned 163-mile route from Raleigh to Richmond would use trains that could travel 110 mph on tracks that would be 35 miles shorter than the current line Amtrak uses, which goes from Richmond south to Rocky Mount, N.C., before taking a dogleg west to Raleigh.

The plan would require new rails and 100 new bridges under or over the roads the cross the tracks.
Those at the meeting plan to take a slower, incremental approach to improving the service.
The initial goal is to improve a CSX freight line from Raleigh to Norlina, just south of the Virginia border. There also are plans to restore tracks that were removed in the 1980s between Norlina and Richmond.
Officials hope to have a plan by 2017 to start trains that could run at speeds of up to 79 mph, with hopes for phasing in improvements that would allow faster trips later.

A study will compare project costs against expected ridership and other benefits.

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