Comfort and safety
Rail cars could offer business and coach classes, with such amenities as:
- a smoother, quieter ride
- a cafe and lounge car
- family and business table seating
- fresh local foods and beverages
- music channels
- bicycle racks
- cell phones
- individual lighting
- electrical outlets for laptops
- adjustable seats with foot rests
- full wheelchair accessibility … even between cars
With the TDX line, Virginia communities, large and small, will welcome visitors and tourists on a regular daily schedule. Business travelers can work using laptop computers, communicate by phone, or conduct meetings en route to their destinations. Families will travel free from the chaotic confines of cars and minivans. Passengers will enjoy the amenities of rail travel, including views of the Virginia countryside through large windows. Upon arrival at stations, other transportation options can help travelers to reach their final destinations.
- Carefully Considered and Highly Recommended
- Utilizes Existing Tracks
- Faster than Current Trains
- Cheaper than Highways
- Widely Endorsed
- Likely to Become Self-Supporting Quickly
- Serves a Significant Demand
- Feasibility Study
- Passenger Quotes
In 1998, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation completed the Bristol Rail Passenger Study. That study recommended connecting Richmond, Southwestern Virginia, and Washington, D.C., with passenger rail service.
The study also concluded that by providing an efficient and needed alternative to automobile travel, the TDX would decrease traffic congestion on highways, reduce air pollution, increase safety, and stimulate tourism and commerce.
The TDX would primarily operate on tracks owned by Norfolk Southern Corporation, with the exception of small sections owned by Amtrak and CSX. Some improvements would be made to existing tracks, such as installing spurs to allow freight and passenger traffic to share the same tracks, as well as other improvements to provide a smoother, faster ride for passengers.
Modern trains can safely maintain higher speeds than the older rail cars currently in use in Virginia. As a result, travel time between destinations on the TDX would be comparable to automobile travel times, without the hassles or delays of highway traffic.
Cheaper than Highways
Compared to highway projects (in which the addition of two additional lanes to existing interstate highways can cost $10 million), the TransDominion Express would be relatively inexpensive to introduce. Total capital costs to improve existing tracks and stations and to acquire equipment, should be less than $100 million for the entire 500-mile rail system.
To date, more than 150 counties, cities, chambers of commerce, and planning divisions have passed resolutions supporting expanded passenger rail in the Commonwealth. Support of the more than 20 colleges and universities located along the route is in the interest of students, faculty members, and parents. To view a complete list of Endorsees for TransDominion Express, click here.
Likely to Become Self-Supporting Quickly
The Rail Passenger Study predicts that within 12 years, operating costs of the train would be completely covered by ticket sales. (The fare is estimated to be 20¢ per mile—or approximately $70 to ride from Southwestern Virginia to Washington, D.C.)
Serves a Significant Demand
It is expected that 372,000 passengers will ride the trains annually, increasing to nearly 800,000 by 2020. (A similar rail system, The Amtrak Cascades line in the Pacific Northwest, met its ridership projections within just a few years of initiating service.) Not only does the TDX route offer complete rail service from Bristol all the way to Washington, D.C., or Richmond, it also offers the convenience of shorter travel to a number of points along the way (Click for Route Map).
View the 1998 Bristol Rail Passenger Study which makes a case for a passenger train route from Bristol, through Virginia, to both Richmond and Washington, D.C.
Steven Roe – Business passenger
“It’s like a rolling office…and you can get just a ton done while you’re moving rather than sitting on the highway somewhere wondering when the heck traffic is going to free up for you…I’m actually saving my company money by traveling this way.”
Salvatore Collura – Passenger
“On the train you can get up…walk around… you can enjoy the scenery.”
Ronald Williams – Passenger
“I enjoy it. You can look out and see everything.”
Scott Henry – Passenger
“It’s kinda nice [to] just not worry about where I’m going and I know I gonna get there…it’s just easy…it really is.”
Lyn Pyle – Passenger
“We picked the train because we’ve always loved trains…it’s a relaxing, delightful way to travel. You save on your car, the tires, the mileage, the gasoline. It’s a really very good, ecological way to travel.”
Nick Pyle – Passenger
“We arrive ready to go…we’re not all tired out from waiting on the freeway, and we’ll get home refreshed too.”
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