Virginia Railway Express train (Photo: George Tenney/VRE)

USA: CSX has awarded consultancy Michael Baker International a 10-year contract to lead programme and construction management for the $3·7bn Transforming Rail in Virginia project to enhance passenger services on the route between Washington DC and Richmond.

Supported by Patrick Engineering, Michael Baker’s Rail & Transit practice will act as owner-representative and collaborate with design consultants to provide pre-construction and construction phase services including design reviews, project controls and construction management/inspection.

The TRV programme is being undertaken through a partnership between CSX, the Federal Railroad Administration, Virginia Department of Transportation, Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express.

The lead state agency is the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, which was created in 2020. It is to take control of 560 km of right-of-way and 360 km of existing tracks from CSX as capital investments are completed, and plans to develop sections of little-used or abandoned right-of-way to separate freight and passenger traffic on the corridor.

The investment will facilitate the operation of more frequent Amtrak trains, plus a near doubling of VRE Fredericksburg Line commuter services including the introduction of late-night and weekend services.