The location of the New River Valley’s proposed rail station is now narrowed to one of two sites, each of which are in proximity to the Uptown Christiansburg mall, based on work performed by the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority.
The news about the sites was among several details shared Monday night during a virtual meeting hosted by VPRA officials.
The VPRA began a feasibility study this past fall to look at potential station locations in the New River Valley and then conducted a survey that ran from Dec. 22 to Jan. 31. The meeting briefly addressed the survey, with the hosts highlighting respondents’ general preference for the two Christiansburg mall sites.
The survey drew just over 2,600 respondents. Among the other “general themes/comments” highlighted from the survey was that multi-modal and public transit access to the station and student access were all considered important issues.
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One of the mall sites is located just west of that property. The other is just north of the mall.
Conceptual, but not definite, designs of each location were presented Monday. The diagrams for both potential sites showed a connection to the existing New River Road. They also showed what officials said would be a temporary relocation of a piece of the Huckleberry Trail, which passes by the mall as part of its run between Christiansburg and Blacksburg.
Officials also shared estimated costs, with the mall sites showing to be most cost-effective when compared with two other previously considered sites. The total capital costs for the west and north sites, respectively, would be approximately $56 million and $52 million.
More than $250 million in investment is expected to cover the return of passenger rail to the New River Valley and the upcoming addition of another Amtrak train from Roanoke to Washington, D.C. The investment includes the acquisition of right of way and track from Norfolk Southern Railway for just under 29 miles of the Virginian Line from the Salem Crossovers to Merrimac in Montgomery County.
The start of the New River Valley service is not expected until at least 2025.
Of the sites being considered for the NRV station, several were in Christiansburg area, including the mall sites, as well as one in the Ellett Valley.
There is another virtual NRV rail meeting March 1 at noon. It was earlier announced that to register, go to: https://transformingrailva.com/events.