Thursday, September 17, 2009

CSX gets local backing for D.C.-area rail upgrades

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The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Transportation Policy Board, a regional transportation board, Wednesday approved plans to help fund CSX efforts to expand and improve freight capacity in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The Board approved a letter supporting federal grant applications to help cover the estimated $160 million cost.

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Concern remains within the board that CSX has not supported improvements to passenger rail needs within the board’s territory, prompting the board to add language in its letter seeking commitments from the Class I carrier. CSX track is used by Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express, and Maryland MARC trains.

CSX has stated that the 13 planned improvement projects in the area would benefit freight and passenger operations. Many of the projects raise clearances for double-stack trains, potentially relieving current bottlenecks and resultant congestion for both freight and passenger moves, CSX has said.