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Design work to start on passenger rail to Roanoke

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The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and Norfolk Southern have signed an agreement to make improvements necessary to bring passenger rail to Roanoke.

The Star City hasn’t had passenger rail in 34 years.

The agreement includes upgrades between Lynchburg and Roanoke, including track additions and realignments, signal and communication upgrades, clearance adjustments and a platform at a station planned in downtown Roanoke.

Design work will begin immediately. Rail connections in downtown Roanoke are currently being reconfigured to improve the flow of train traffic through Roanoke.

Funding for bringing passenger rail to Roanoke was included in the transportation package passed by the General Assembly last year. Virignia has committed $92.7 million for the improvements, according to Thelma Drake, director of the DRPT. Roanoke is responsible for building the train station and parking.

The passenger rail is expected to start within four years.

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