The final phase of improvement projects in Northern Virginia aimed at handling more trains at higher speeds has been completed, eliminating a choke point on Norfolk Southern's Crescent Corridor.

"With these improvements, we can move more trains faster through Northern Virginia," said John Friedmann, Norfolk Southern vice president of strategic planning. "This is a significant milestone in increasing the freight capacity of the Crescent Corridor in Virginia, and a prime example of a successful public-private partnership at work."

Funded by $43 million from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and nearly $20 million from Norfolk Southern, the projects lengthened or built new passing tracks between Manassas, Va., and Front Royal, installed five miles of double track near the Virginia Inland Port, improved signal and traffic control systems, and increased train speeds through Riverton Junction near Front Royal.

"The completion of these I-81 corridor improvements will benefit both freight and passenger rail service in Virginia," said Thelma Drake, DRPT director. "This capacity will attract more trucks from the highways to trains, as well as facilitate future passenger expansion in Northern Virginia."

The Crescent Corridor initiative supports the state's goals for improving freight transportation while facilitating passenger improvements.