About The Project

The Washington, D.C. to Richmond segment of the Southeast High Speed Rail (SEHSR) project is part of a larger nationwide higher speed intercity passenger rail plan identified by USDOT and the states of Virginia and North Carolina.

Project Purpose

The purpose of this project is to provide a competitive transportation choice in the corridor by increasing intercity passenger rail capacity and improving travel times. This project will provide multiple benefits to the traveling public and the Commonwealth of Virginia, including:

  • Improving the frequency, reliability, and travel time of intercity passenger rail operations in Virginia and beyond, and providing a competitive alternative to highway and air travel.
  • Increasing the capacity of the shared freight-passenger rail system between Washington, D.C., and Richmond and beyond.
  • Improving modal connectivity with other public transportation systems within the corridor to further expand travel options for passengers within Virginia and beyond.
  • Improving freight and passenger rail safety in the corridor by improving highway-rail grade crossings.
  • Improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by diverting passenger trips from automobiles and movement of freight by trucks to more environmentally sustainable rail transportation.

Watch a video of track operations:


Project Quick Facts

  • Approximately 123-mile segment generally parallel to the I-95 corridor
  • Northern Terminus – Long Bridge, Arlington, VA (Potomac River) 
  • Southern Terminus – Centralia in Chesterfield County, VA
  • Shared freight rail and passenger rail corridor
  • Amtrak provides intercity passenger rail service
  • Virginia Railway Express (VRE) provides commuter rail service 
  • CSX owns the track and provides freight service
  • Part of the larger 500-mile SEHSR project.

Project Area

The project area extends from the Long Bridge in Arlington, VA, to Centralia, VA in Chesterfield County. Proposed improvements are along CSX-owned track, generally parallel to I-95. It is an important freight corridor and an essential economic driver for Virginia. It is also an extension of Virginia’s rail service to Newport News and Norfolk, offering a link to port traffic. It provides a heavily used right-of-way for utilities, including pipelines, power, and fiber optic cables.

DC2RVA Project Map
Key Stakeholders & Partner Agencies
Read about the federal review process

This effort is the second step in a two-tiered federal environmental review process. The preferred alternative identified in the 2002 Record of Decision called for incremental rail improvements that generate benefits of higher speeds and minimize impacts by using existing rail infrastructure and railroad right of way. While the Tier I project established the general corridor for improved service, the actual route will be designed as part of the Tier II EIS process.

This Tier II EIS includes a more rigorous environmental study of potential alternatives, required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), to bring higher speed rail to the Commonwealth. In addition to completing the next phase of environmental study, DRPT will conduct preliminary engineering to evaluate station, track, and safety improvements as well as the feasibility of adding a third track in several areas. These improvements are necessary to deliver a maximum authorized speed (MAS) of 90 miles per hour in the corridor.

Project funding

This project is funded through a cooperative agreement between DRPT and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for the completion of preliminary engineering and Tier II environmental review for the corridor between Washington, D.C. and Richmond.