Environmental studies on a new rail link between Raleigh and Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia were completed in summer 2015. This corridor is currently owned by CSX Transportation but has no passenger service south of Petersburg and no freight service north of Norlina, NC. The corridor has potential for top speeds of 110 MPH or more and average speeds of 86 MPH south of Petersburg. Even if the corridor were rebuilt to conventional top speeds of 79 MPH, the shorter distance, improved track, and fewer stops would substantially reduce passenger rail travel times between Raleigh, Petersburg, and Richmond, continuing to Northern Virginia, Washington, DC, and the Northeast Corridor (NEC), with connecting service from Petersburg and Richmond to Hampton Roads in southeastern Virginia.
The members of the Virginia-North Carolina Interstate High Speed Rail Compact — created by the legislatures of the two states — are currently monitoring the progress of the nearly-complete environmental and ridership studies between Raleigh and Richmond and the potential for staged implementation of higher speed rail (HrSR) and high performance rail (HPR) along the corridor.
Recent successes of RTA and partners
- Final environmental document complete for entire Raleigh-Petersburg-Richmond higher speed rail corridor
- RTA Intercity Higher Speed Rail Chair Randy Lickey named to VA-NC High Speed Rail Compact in 2013 as only non-legislative member
- Submitted comments on Northeast Corridor Future initiative concerning higher speed rail between North Carolina and Virginia in 2012
- Held RTA 2012 Transportation Breakfast with legislative leaders from North Carolina and Virginia and representation from Federal Railroad Administration on opportunities and challenges associated with advancing higher speed rail between North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, DC
- Lobbied for the successful retention of $500 million in federal funding for higher speed rail improvements between Raleigh and Charlotte in 2011, enabling enhanced future passenger rail options and increased reliability along our Piedmont Crescent
- Partnered with southern mid-Atlantic chambers to highlight the “Connecting the Capitals” higher speed rail corridor, with $4 million in federal funding received to finalize studies from Raleigh to Richmond, Virginia in 2011
- Spearheaded dialogue in partnership with Richmond and Raleigh chambers to advance “Connecting the Capitals” High Speed Rail initiative in 2010