Federal Railroad Administrator Ron Batory Visits CSX's Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
by: Matt Bell

Section: 2018 NRC Grassroots Events

The NRC's grassroots program was created to invite United States Congressmen to visit NRC member facilities and construction project sites. These visits give the Members of Congress firsthand knowledge of the rail industry and demonstrate how rail contractors and suppliers are positively affecting the rail industry and the local and national economy. If your company is interested in hosting your Congressman for a visit, please contact Matt Bell at mbell@nrcma.org to begin the process.
WASHINGTON, DC - On July 11, 2018, Federal Railroad Administrator Ron Batory joined CSX and the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC), in conjunction with Clark Construction, Delta Railroad Construction and Parsons, for a tour of CSX's Virginia Avenue Tunnel project.
"CSX's Virginia Avenue Tunnel project is a great example of a private railroad investing private money, assisted by private contractors (Clark, Delta Railroad Construction and Parsons), to improve America's rail infrastructure," stated Federal Railroad Administrator Ron Batory. "This project will complete the railroad's National Gateway project and make the rail network safer and more efficient, which helps railroad customers, the consumers of the goods shipped by rail, and the American economy."

The Virginia Avenue Tunnel in southeast Washington, D.C., is a crucial part of the United States' East Coast railroad network. The tunnel lets trains move freight between key ports, manufacturing centers, and consumer markets. CSX is replacing the century-old tunnel with two new structures, which will be tall enough to let trains carry two freight containers stacked on each car. These double-stacked intermodal freight trains will carry consumer goods like televisions, clothing and furniture. Double-stack trains can carry twice as much freight as a single-stack train, which helps meet America's growing need to move more goods by train.
The tour highlighted the construction of the second d Virginia Avenue Tunnel. The new 4,100-foot-long, 21-foot-tall tunnels will replace a 3,800-foot long, single-track tunnel built in the late 19th century. Construction began in May 2015 and the first tunnel  was completed in late 2016. CSX is expecting the completion of the second tunnel to be finished this month and the whole Virginia Avenue Tunnel project to be finished on schedule in October of this year. 

The construction is being managed by joint venture (JV) partners Clark Construction and Parsons, with Delta Railroad Construction performing the subcontracted rail work. The construction work for the second tunnel involves demolishing the remaining sections of the existing tunnel's roof and south wall and constructing a new 4,100-foot, cut-and-cover north tunnel; installation of track bed ballast, railroad tracks, railroad signals and communications equipment in second new tunnel; provide track connections for second new tunnel at both portals and permanently relocating numerous water, sewer, electric, communications and gas utilities. 
The Virginia Avenue Tunnel project will be the final of 61 projects that CSX needs to be completed for their National Gateway corridor.  It is designed to improve rail connections between ports in the U.S. mid-Atlantic seaboard and the Midwest by upgrading bridges and tunnels to allow double-stacked trains. The gateway provides CSX with a more efficient and environmentally friendly route for moving double-stack trains.  
The following were in attendance:
·       Ron Batory, FRA
·       Matt Bell, NRC
·       Peter Cipriano, FRA
·       Chris Hess, FRA
·       Owen Morgan, USDOT
·       Deva Tucker, USDOT
·       Anne Reinke, CSX
·       Peter Shudtz, CSX
·       Chuck Gullakson, CSX
·       Steve Flippin, CSX    
·       Phil Sheridan, Clark Construction
·       Ryan Wayslaw, Delta Railroad Construction

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