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Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor Washington DC to Richmond VA Service Development Program

PROJECT WEBSITE: DC to Richmond Southeast High Speed Rail

All dates below are specific to the schedule of the Environmental Review and Permitting processes for this project.





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Surface Transportation

Surface Transportation

Project Category

Project Category DOT Projects

Department of Transportation

Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration


FRA, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), is beginning a Tier II Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 123-mile portion of the SEHSR Corridor from Washington, DC to Richmond, VA. The environmental study area begins at the southern terminus of the Long Bridge over the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia and continues south to Centralia, Virginia at the CSXT A-Line/CSXT S-Line junction. This study will evaluate alternatives and environmental impacts within the preferred corridor described in the Tier I Record of Decision for the SEHSR Corridor from Washington, DC to Charlotte, North Carolina.

This Tier II environmental process has four basic goals:

(1) Update and confirm the purpose and need as established in the Tier I EIS for the Washington, DC to Richmond, VA portion of the SEHSR corridor;

(2) Develop site-specific rail alternatives for placement of a third track and other improvements;

(3) Conduct a detailed evaluation of environmental impacts for the alternatives; and

(4) Select a preferred alternative. The project also will include preliminary engineering for projects from Arlington to Centralia that are required to deliver SEHSR service at a maximum authorized speed (MAS) of 90 miles per hour (mph) along the corridor, as well as updating the existing service development plan (SDP) for operations along the corridor.

Several Tier II environmental documents will examine the various segments of the preferred corridor on a more detailed, local level. The Tier II EIS that is the subject of this notice will examine the Washington, DC to Richmond portion of the SEHSR corridor and will include preliminary engineering in addition to the Tier II EIS.

Additionally, this project will include preliminary engineering and environmental analyses  for related capacity improvements on the CSXT Peninsula Subdivision in the Richmond area between AM Junction and Beulah to the east, and on the Buckingham Branch Railroad from AM Junction through Doswell, VA, to the north, as well as two localities where specific improvements have not been identified: Elmont to North Doswell (through Ashland, VA) and Fredericksburg to Dahlgren (through Fredericksburg, VA and the Rappahannock River Bridge). These areas will be evaluated for station, track, and safety improvements as well as the feasibility of a third track.  This project will involve further analysis of the alignment of the route selected through the 2002 Tier I EIS and Record of Decision, including the Buckingham Branch Railroad and the CSXT S-Line and A-Line routes from Greendale north of Richmond to Centralia south of Richmond.

The Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor, one of eleven Federal high speed passenger rail corridors, was designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in 1992. The corridor was designated as running from Washington, DC through Richmond, VA and Raleigh, NC to Charlotte, NC, with maximum speeds of 110 mph. It is part of an overall plan to extend service from the existing high speed rail on the Northeast Corridor (Boston to Washington) to points in the Southeast. In 1995, DOT extended the SEHSR corridor to Hampton Roads, VA. In 1998, DOT created two more extensions: 1) from Charlotte through Spartanburg and Greenville, SC to Atlanta, GA and on through Macon, GA to Jacksonville, FL; and 2) from Raleigh through Columbia, SC and Savannah, GA to Jacksonville, FL and from Atlanta to Birmingham, AL.

 A “tiered” approach was adopted for the SEHSR environmental studies because of the length of the corridor. The original SEHSR Tier I EIS and Record of Decision covered the entire Washington, DC to Charlotte, NC corridor at a program level, establishing the overall project purpose and need and modal alternative along with the preferred corridor. A separate Tier I EIS was completed in 2012 for the Richmond to Hampton Roads extension.

On October 23, 2014, FRA published in the Federal Register a notice of intentExternal Link to prepare the EIS.  The notice described the environmental process and detailed the scoping that would take place.  For more information on the project, please visit the project website at Link.

On August 30, 2017, the FRA signed the DEIS. It appeared in the Federal Register on September 8, 2017; the period runs until November 7, 2017.

In addition, pertinent information can be found at the project's FRA webpage,

Permitting Timetable

The permitting timetable below displays data as reported by agencies. Dates for Environmental Review and Permitting processes (Actions) that are in 'Paused' or 'Planned' status are subject to change and are not indicative of a project's final schedule.

  • For information about extensions, select an Action from the timetable below and select 'View Action Details' at the bottom of the page.
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Overall Project Timetable
Extension or Delay
Ahead of Schedule
No End Date

Action Information

For additional information, please select an Action from the Permitting Timetable above.

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Milestone Original Target Date Current Target Date Milestone Complete