Update on Status of Proposed TransDominion Express (TDX) Passenger Rail Service

Report No: 07-R23

Published in 2007

About the report:

The Virginia General Assembly's House Budget Bill for the 2006-2008 biennium directed the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) to update the status of a proposed passenger rail service, called the TransDominion Express (TDX), between Bristol, Richmond, and Washington, DC. Although TDX has been studied five times prior to this report during the past 10 years, ridership estimates have varied substantially, from as small as 26,000 to as large as 500,000. Findings from this study are that the capital cost for infrastructure to support full service between Bristol, Richmond, and Washington, DC, is estimated at approximately $206 million (in 2010 dollars). The annual operating cost for full service is estimated at $19 million (in 2010 dollars), presuming two round-trip visits to all stations. The annual ridership is estimated at 14,000 to 58,000. Based on the estimated ridership levels, annual revenue is projected to be between $0.4 million and $1.8 million in 2010 dollars. Based on the estimated annual operating cost of $19 million, an annual subsidy of between $17.2 million and $18.6 million will be required. However, estimated ridership varies by station location: e.g., it is estimated that 70% of TDX ridership would occur at stations between Lynchburg and Alexandria inclusive. Although each additional station might add riders, some stations would add more riders than others. These findings are tempered by the fact that any travel demand forecasts for TDX rely on 18 assumptions that are documented in Table 9 of this report. For example, this report assumes that a schedule identified in 2001 as feasible will remain feasible as two external circumstances affecting the feasibility of TDX evolve: the Heartland Corridor Double-Stack Initiative and the I-81 Rail Corridor Study, both of which may improve or adversely affect passenger operations. Other assumptions pertaining to the sensitivity of passenger travel demand to other factors, such as food service, seat comfort, and the accessibility of the station, are also noted in the report.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Last updated: November 25, 2023

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