Federal Railroad Administration Awards Corridor ID Program Grant to Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation for Bristol Passenger Rail Extension Study
On December 8, 2023, the Federal Railroad Administration announced that the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) was awarded a grant of up to $500,000 to study the extension of Amtrak's Northeast Regional service to Bristol, VA. The study's description is as follows:
"The proposed corridor would extend the existing state-supported Amtrak Northeast Regional service between Washington, D.C., and Roanoke, VA, with an extension to Bristol, VA. The proposed corridor would also include new frequencies, improved travel times, improvements to reliability, and new stations, including a new infill station at Bedford, VA. The corridor sponsor would enter Step 1 of the program to develop a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for preparing, completing, or documenting its service development plan."
For more information, please view the press release from the Federal Railroad Administration here.
Currently known as a popular event venue in the City of Bristol, Virginia, the Trainstation may see a return to its past use as a station for future passenger rail service through the Bristol region.
The “To and Thru Bristol Passenger Rail” Coalition is a legacy community initiative to bring Amtrak passenger rail service back to Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.
In June 2023, the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) published "Back on Track? Intercity Passenger Rail Options for Tennessee," a summary report analyzing potential passenger rail service options for the State of Tennessee. Among the recommendations of the study were the following key points:
- TDOT should determine the cost, engineering, and any other requirements to implement passenger rail service from Chattanooga to Knoxville to Bristol as a Tier 2 priority;
- TDOT should submit an application to the Federal Rail Administration's (FRA) Corridor ID program for the Chattanooga-Knoxville-Bristol corridor;
- TDOT should collaborate with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) to maximize the viability of the Chattanooga-Knoxville-Bristol corridor as well as the Southwest Virginia Amtrak expansion from New River Valley to Bristol;
- The State of Tennessee should create an office of rail and public transportation within TDOT; and
- The State of Tennessee should evaluate increasing intercity bus service along the I-40/I-81 corridor, including to Bristol.
For more information on the results of the TACIR report, please read here.