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

USA: Virginia Passenger Rail Authority is in preliminary discussions with Norfolk Southern for the purchase of the route used by Manassas Line commuter services, and to introduce passenger services to the New River Valley in the southeast of the state.

Purchasing the Manassas Line would enable Virginia Railway Express to increase its Broad Run to Washington DC services beyond the current traditional commuting options, potentially including evening and weekend trains.

VPRA and NS are also discussing options for a passenger service to Cambria Yard in Christiansburg which would use the freight railway’s N-Line.

Studies have found this would be cheaper than a previous plan to use the Virginian Line, a railway the state purchased from NS in 2022 and could sell back.

‘We saw the numbers, the timeline and listened to our stakeholders, and it became clear that if using the N-Line was a possibility, we had to pursue that’, said VPRA Executive Director DJ Stadtler on June 4. ‘Norfolk Southern has been a great partner to VPRA as we’ve worked to reach more Virginians by rail, and we appreciate their efforts in aiding us in this endeavour.’