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Two Lanes Are Better Than One

by Alyssa Miller

The Virginia Avenue Tunnel (VAT), owned by CSX Transportation, in southeast Washington, D.C. is a crucial component of the East Coast railroad network. The single-track tunnel provides a bypass around Union Station and serves as a passageway for freight moving between ports, manufacturing centers and consumer markets. The 100 year-old, 3,800 ft tunnel can only accommodate one train at a time and has deteriorated throughout its years of service. Because of this, CSX is rebuilding and replacing it with two new structures to maximize capacity. The reconstruction will increase the tunnel width to hold a second track enabling northbound and southbound traffic to pass through simultaneously. It will also raise the height of the tunnel roof to make room for double-stack intermodal container trains.This will allow CSX to better serve customers and reduce rail and highway congestion.

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