This week, the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) notified the Town of Ashland that they will begin surveying select Town-owned properties, businesses, and private residences to delineate boundaries between CSX Transportation right-of-way and right-of-way recently purchased by VPRA.
The Commonwealth of Virginia and CSX Transportation signed a deal in March to transfer 223 miles of track and 386 miles of right-of-way to the Commonwealth to improve and expand passenger rail service in Virginia. The surveys will aid in the development of a plan to study Virginia’s 179 miles of Interstate 95 corridor between the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Alexandria, Virginia and the North Carolina border.
In a presentation to Ashland’s Town Council in June about the acquisition, Mr. Clark Mercer, Governor Northam’s Chief of Staff, noted that the deal includes an agreement from all parties to maintain the existing two-track rail system within the Town of Ashland. Any expansions to a three-track system would occur outside of Ashland’s residential and downtown areas to the north and south of town.
“This deal will expand and improve passenger rail service in Virginia while also protecting and preserving the Town of Ashland,” Mr. Mercer said. “The agreement between CSX and the state recognizes that a 3-2-3 track system is what is appropriate and will enable us to adequately move passenger and freight up and down the corridor while also protecting this community.”
If surveying is required on your property as part of the study, VPRA will notify you in writing or in person. Any individuals entering your property for the purposes of the study will carry identification and must present it upon request.
More information about the Commonwealth’s acquisition deal can be found here. A recording of the June 15 Town Council meeting with comments and presentations from Mr. Mercer and Shannon Valentine, Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation, can be found here.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the study and entry onto your property, please contact Todd Hopkins with VPRA at: (804) 382-0438 / firstname.lastname@example.org.