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Northam announces deal to expand rail in southwest Virginia

Passenger rail service will be returning to the area southwest of Roanoke for the first time since 1979.
Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam attends a news conference to announce the expansion of commuter rail in Virginia at the Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Alexandria Station, Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Alexandria, Va.

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. — Virginia and Norfolk Southern Railway have reached a $257 million agreement to bring new passenger rail service to part of southwest Virginia.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the deal Wednesday. It includes infrastructure improvements and right-of-way and track acquisitions. 

Northam's office says it will increase existing service to Roanoke and newly expand it to Christiansburg, which neighbors Blacksburg, home to Virginia Tech. 

That means service will be returning to the New River Valley, the area southwest of Roanoke, for the first time since 1979.