January 9, 2014 |

Well – it’s official. At least the paperwork.

Capitol BuildingVirginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed an agreement with Norfolk Southern for making infrastructure improvements necessary to extend Amtrak passenger rail service from Lynchburg to Roanoke. So far, so good.

“Intercity passenger-rail service is central to the commonwealth’s economic growth, vitality and competitiveness in the region. Now the major population centers will have intercity passenger-rail service.” said McDonnell.

Thelma Drake, director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, said in a news release; “With the signing of this agreement, the State will be able to extend Amtrak Virginia daily intercity passenger train service to Roanoke within four years with direct same seat service to as far north as Boston.”

State officials said the governor’s 2013 transportation funding plan was “instrumental” in prompting the return of Amtrak’s intercity passenger-rail service to Roanoke. The Virginia-NS agreement includes track additions and realignments, signal and communication upgrades along the route, clearance adjustments, and a platform and train servicing facility in downtown Roanoke. Design work is scheduled to begin immediately according to state officials.

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