CSX Halfway Done With Tunnel Project

The last step in the completion of the CSX National Gateway initiative, enlarging the Virginia Avenue tunnel in Washington, is past the half-way point and on target to be completed in mid 2018.

Workers are replacing a 3,800-foot tunnel built in 1872 with twin 4,100-foot tunnels that will be large enough to accommodate double-stack container trains.

The $250 million project began in May 2015 and the first tunnel was completed last December.

Railroad officials say the tunnel, which had been rebuilt in 1906, had reached the end of its useful life.

The new tunnels will be 21 feet tall, but will still be a tight fit for high-profile rail cars. The original tunnels were 18.7 feet tall.

Although Amtrak and commuter carrier Virginia Railway Express will not be using the tunnels, CSX officials say they will benefit because they use tracks leading to Washington Union Station from the south and having a more fluid freight operation will keep passengers trains moving.

The Washington tunnels are the last of 61 clearance projects undertaken by CSX in recent years to develop the National Gateway route between the Northwest Ohio intermodal terminal near North Baltimore and Mid-Atlantic ports.

The National Gateway is an $850 million public-private partnership.

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One Response to “CSX Halfway Done With Tunnel Project”

  1. Paul Woodring Says:

    The maximum allowable height for cars in the old Virginia Av. Tunnel was 17’3″ (double-stack trash containers). This also precluded auto racks.

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