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Who We Are

The Shenandoah Rail Corridor is a coalition of businesses, tourism groups, concerned citizens, adjoining land owners, historians and outdoor lovers whom share an all encompassing and collective vision to preserving a historical rail corridor in the Shenandoah Valley!

A little bit of history...

The Shenandoah Valley is home to Norfolk Southern Railway's "B-Line", a 48-mile freight railroad corridor stretching from milepost B51 in Front Royal to milepost B99 in Broadway.

 

Norfolk Southern Railway was created by a merger of the famous Norfolk and Western Railway and the Southern Railway on June 1st, 1982. Consequently, the Shenandoah Valley, which once thrived on competitive freight rates, was suddenly left with one option for rail service. 

 

Now experiencing a redundancy of rail lines, Norfolk Southern evaluated their north-to-south routes and prioritized the ex-N&W mainline from Roanoke through Page Valley, and the ex-Southern mainline from Atlanta, through the Piedmont region.

- not to redeck a bridge

see our bridge inspection data 

 

The "B-line" has slowly lost traffic since the late 1980's amidst numerous business decisions and the advent of the "Precision Scheduled Railroading" business model of the late 2010's.

 

The last freight customer, RR Donnelly in Strasburg, announced it's closure in late 2019, and the northern ten miles of the corridor was finally designated "out-of-service" in December 2020.

 

To this day, the corridor is flanked by thriving short line railroads; Winchester & Western Railroad out of Winchester, the Chesapeake & Western Railway out of Harrisonburg, and the Shenandoah Valley Railroad out of Staunton. These railroads move approximately 20,000 rail carloads per year; or 70,000 trucks worth of freight.

Check out our RESOURCES tab to see our supporting data.

What's next?

Despite currently connecting the Shenandoah Valley to America's rail network in Front Royal, Strasburg, and Harrisonburg, the Shenandoah Rail Trail Exploratory Partnership promotes removing our vital infrastructure and converting it to a single-use trail, touting it as a "transportation solution."  While well-intentioned, neither the Rail Trail Exploratory Partnership, the Friends of the Shenandoah Rail Trail, the Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, nor the Shenandoah Valley Economic Partnership have presented thorough data that comprehensively to rule out the viability of freight, tourist, or passenger rail in the Shenandoah Valley (see our data here). They assume that because of it's condition that because Norfolk Southern, hasn't reactivated the line, that it must not be viable as a short line railroad. Yet, the railroad remains unsold.

Our coalition has spoken to local leaders across of all of these organizations and towns and we're consistently fed the same discouraging message: the railroad won't work because the railroad is dead. That was also the case for the Shenandoah Valley Railroad in Staunton. The 25 miles of railroad (then owned by Norfolk Southern) was considered unsavable in _____ and in ____was rehabilitated by specialized track construction and maintenance equipment. In recent years, the SVRR handles approximately 2,100 car loads per year via CSX and Norfolk Southern. One commodity shipped on that line is rock salt for use during our icy winters, resulting in an estimated $1 million annual savings for VDOT in shipping costs over trucking. 

How do those savings impact you?

 

The biggest industry benefiting from rail in our valley is indisputably the agricultural industry, specifically poultry and dairy farmers. Outside of harvest season, the Chesapeake & Western Railway (CW) supplies our Valley farmers with unit grain trains into Rockingham County from the Midwest via Norfolk Southern. A unit train is one in which all of the car loads in the manifest carry the same commodity. For example, Virginia Poultry Growers Co-operative, Inc. purchase unit grain trains often exceeding 80 cars and many times, these companies receive a bulk discount in shipping costs. These savings are passed down straight to our farmers! We know that having an independent short line railroad with an active connection to CSX Railroad in Strasburg would re-introduce competition to our Valley farmers and further increase their bottom line. With the costs of farming rising higher than ever, these savings will make the difference between win or lose from season to season. It's time to invest in our Valley's future and put farmers first as they work hard to support our local economy year after year. Fertilizer

 THE SOLUTION
"TRAILS PLUS"

We believe in the success of trails, but not at the expense of vital railroad infrastructure that is strongly sought after by light industry and business. This is why we promote a "Trails Plus", a rail-WITH-trail plan that would preserve the historic railroad for continued rail service and create a recreational trail experience that would connect our battlefields and historic communities along the line.

 

Rails - Revitalize the railroad for current freight needs and tourist desires while preserving the valleys access to sustainable passenger rail for ALL of the Valley's citizens! 

TrailsWork with local private and public partners to build a strategic, accessible network of parallel trails within the right-of-way.

 

According to the US Department of Transportation, there are 300+ examples of safe, successful trails co-existing with active railroads.[3]

Check out our "Rails-WITH-Trails" tab to learn more! 

OUR PARTNERS

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Rockingham Petroleum Coop logo.jpg
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OUR GOALS
 

- Promote the co-existence of rails WITH trails attracting visitors from cycling community AND the historical, Civil War, and railroad enthusiast communities... boosting trail return on investment! 

- Further the support of a scenic/tourist railroad to show off the beauty and splendor of the valley

- Sustain the valleys population growth by preserving access to passenger rail 

- Protect the valley's access to reliable supply chains for it's industries and ease already-heavy congestion on local roads and interstates

shenandoah rails with to trails river valley rail road railroad railway rail way trail rails bike biking walk walking trail 48 mile train trains short line rr corridor line track tracks tourist freight passenger commuter virginia va nv northern virginia daily news record strasburg mauertown toms brook edinburg woodstock mount mt jackson new market timberville broadway harrisonburg front royal warren winchester warren rockingham shenandoah county counties
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