NEWS RELEASE – June 4, 2024

Would provide benefits for VRE and the New River Valley

RICHMOND — The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) announced today that it is in preliminary discussions with Norfolk Southern Corporation to purchase the Manassas Line and to pursue an option to extend passenger rail service to the New River Valley (NRV) on the Norfolk Southern main line (N-Line). While negotiations are in the early stages, VPRA and Norfolk Southern have established a mutually beneficial framework for both passenger and freight rail service.

The purchase of the Manassas Line would be beneficial to Virginians who use VRE’s Manassas Line service as it would allow for additional frequencies including evening and weekend service. Currently, VRE offers eight roundtrips on the Manassas Line with stops at Broad Run, Manassas, Manassas Park, Burke Centre, Rolling Road, Backlick Road, Alexandria, Crystal City, L’Enfant, and Washington Union Station. Purchasing the Manassas Line would give VPRA the flexibility to work with VRE to expand service beyond the current traditional commuting option with northbound trains operating in the morning hours and southbound trains in the afternoon.

After receiving more information regarding the cost and timeframe for delivering service along the Virginian Line — per a 2022 agreement with Norfolk Southern — VPRA revisited negotiations with Norfolk Southern to find a more cost-effective and timelier alternative on the N-Line. Extending service to the NRV via the N-Line would allow VPRA to offer passenger rail service to Norfolk Southern’s Cambria Yard in Christiansburg, which served rail passengers from 1904 to 1979. It could potentially reduce the cost and accelerate VPRA’s plans to expand passenger rail service to the area. Following recent public outreach in the NRV that included surveys and public meetings, it became clear that service on the N-Line was also the preferred option for constituents there.

Recognizing the importance of determining the feasibility of the N-Line option, VPRA is advancing discussions with Norfolk Southern. Those discussions are ongoing and together with Norfolk Southern, VPRA will work expeditiously over the summer to complete the necessary evaluation of the N-Line option and Cambria Yard site. The results of that evaluation and a recommended path forward will be presented to the VPRA Board at their August meeting.

“VPRA exists to promote, sustain, and expand the availability of passenger and commuter rail in the Commonwealth, and with these negotiations, we are working towards that mission,” said Jennifer DeBruhl, Director of the Virginia Department of Rail & Public Transportation (DRPT) and VPRA’s Board Chair.

“We saw the numbers, the timeline, and listened to our stakeholders, and it became clear that if using the N-Line was a possibility, we had to pursue that,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of VPRA. “Norfolk Southern has been a great partner to VPRA as we’ve worked to reach more Virginians by rail, and we appreciate their efforts in aiding us in this endeavor.”

“We value our relationship with VPRA and appreciate the role the authority plays in advancing passenger rail in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Norfolk Southern Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Mike McClellan. “We look forward to continuing to partner on projects like this that stand to serve the interests of our communities while also balancing the needs of our freight customers and the economy we support.”

About Virginia Passenger Rail Authority
The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority was established in 2020 to promote, sustain, and expand the availability of passenger and commuter rail service in the Commonwealth. VPRA is committed to delivering and expanding its state-supported Amtrak Virginia passenger rail service. The Commonwealth of Virginia first launched state-supported service in 2009 with one roundtrip between Washington, DC and Lynchburg, VA. Since that time, the Commonwealth’s service has grown to include eight roundtrips daily with stops at 17 stations along four corridors. For more information, please visit

About Norfolk Southern
Since 1827, Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) and its predecessor companies have safely moved the goods and materials that drive the U.S. economy. Today, it operates a customer-centric and operations-driven freight transportation network. Committed to furthering sustainability, Norfolk Southern helps its customers avoid approximately 15 million tons of yearly carbon emissions by shipping via rail. Its dedicated team members deliver more than 7 million carloads annually, from agriculture to consumer goods, and Norfolk Southern originates more automotive traffic than any other Class I Railroad. Norfolk Southern also has the most extensive intermodal network in the eastern U.S. It serves a majority of the country’s population and manufacturing base, with connections to every major container port on the Atlantic coast as well as major ports in the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes. Learn more by visiting