7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independence, Ohio 44131 • (216) 241-2630 / Fax: (216) 241-6516

News and Issues
User Info

Rail backers press for service for Hampton Roads

(The following story by Debbie Messina appeared on The Virginian-Pilot website on August 7, 2009.)

NORFOLK, Va. — Virginians for High Speed Rail, the state's leading rail advocacy group, is urging federal and state officials to support expanding higher-speed passenger rail service to both sides of Hampton Roads.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation is finishing a study of the alternatives for connecting Hampton Roads to higher-speed rail, with maximum speeds of 90 mph.

So far, the state has estimated that the cost, depending on the route, would range from $330 million to $844 million.

A draft should be ready by late this summer, and public hearings will be scheduled.

The advocacy group's board, made up of community and business leaders from across the state, voted unanimously for both routes.

"High-speed rail is about more than just speed; it is about fast, frequent and reliable passenger rail service from Richmond to Newport News and Norfolk that will serve all of Hampton Roads," said Meredith Richards of Charlottesville, president of Virginians for High Speed Rail.

Passenger rail service along the Peninsula now averages less than a 50 percent on-time performance, group leaders said.

"As a business owner, that is unacceptable," said the group's former president, Thomas G. Tingle, a Williamsburg architect.

A split between South Hampton Roads and the Peninsula over high-speed rail is widening because the mayors of the seven southside cities and counties have agreed to push for a route south of the James River.

Southside leaders want higher-speed passenger service to extend from Richmond to Petersburg then along the U.S. 460 corridor and into downtown Norfolk.

Many Peninsula leaders want higher-speed rail extended north of the James River, from Richmond to Newport News, along a route that already supports Amtrak passenger service.

Meanwhile, the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization passed a resolution last month endorsing a Hampton Roads high-speed rail connection without specifying a route.

Without a political consensus, the region's chances could be jeopardized at a time when federal money is available for such a project. More than $8 billion in federal stimulus money has been set aside for faster trains.

The state's first rail priority is upgrading service from Washington to Richmond and Petersburg.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Like us on Facebook at

Sign up for BLET News Flash Alerts

© 1997-2021 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen


Decertification Helpline
(216) 694-0240

National Negotiations

Sign up for BLET
News Flash Alerts


CP threatened lawsuit against safety watchdog after investigator spoke out about deadly crash
Fatal CP derailment prompts petitions urging Canadian government to end private railway policing
Promises made, promises kept: Hoffa addresses 30th International Convention
Biden lauds Hoffa, Teamsters for policy leadership
Teamsters announce coordinated nationwide project to unionize Amazon
Political efforts spell policy success for Teamsters
STB briefed on freight rail cybersecurity issues
Schumer urges feds to approve $3.4 million grant to expand Alstom manufacturing facilities
Amtrak’s new Baltimore tunnel to be named after Frederick Douglass
Connecticut rail plan aims to cut commuter travel time
RRB issues Form BA-6, statements of service
Unemployment and Sickness Benefit flexibilities under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA) during the COVID-19 virus outbreak
Get the latest labor news from the Teamsters

More Headlines