Welcome to DC Safe Rail

DC Safe Rail wants to keep you informed. Explore these links to learn more about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project (VAT), about us, and the many community concerns and objections made by organizations and federal agencies related to CSX’s proposal to expand the VAT and transport dangerous materials through a historic Capitol Hill neighborhood, mere blocks from the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Understand how this project, in its current proposed state, will affect you. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and keep visiting these pages for the latest on meetings, information, and more.  You can also stay updated by signing up for our contact list. 

Don’t be railroaded. Learn more and speak out.


For more updates, check out our Google+ page here: Google+

Washington Traffic Jam
Ariel view

4/30/14 – 9:30 A.M. DC Council Hearing on CSX VAT Project

On Wednesday, April 30th at 9:30 am in Room 412 at the Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW), the DC Council Committee of the Whole will hold its first public hearing about the VAT project. See the details at: dccouncil.us/events/cow-hearing-on-b20-601.

Two DC Councilmembers came together on a resolution to ensure that DC took a good look at the proposed Virginia Avenue Tunnel project by CSX. Please join us on April 30th to testify or support the DC Council in taking on its responsibility to safeguard and protect the interests of DC residents and District business owners. For more about the proposed VAT Project, visit these DCSafeRail.org pages.

To sign up to testify, please contact Ms. Jessica Jacobs ASAP at (202) 724-8196 or  jjacobs@dccouncil.us. Provide your name, address, telephone number, and organizational affiliation (if any) by close of business on Monday, April 28th (you may request to testify as a panel with up to three people.) Written testimony can also be submitted to the record until May 14th at 5pm.

New Videos Up of Gray and Norton January Meetings

Please click here to view the full recordings of the community meetings held with Mayor Gray and Delegate Norton in January, 2014 regarding the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.

And thank you to the hundreds of citizens who took time out of their busy days to make their voices heard in these public forums, speaking out for citizen safety and project accountability. We know that participation for some represents a great deal of effort and inconvenience, and DCSR wants you to know that we appreciate all of you!

Lac-Megantic Mayor Lobbying Washington for More Rail Safety

Collette Roy-Laroche is in town–she is the mayor of Lac-Megantic, a Quebec town that lost 47 people last July when a runaway train derailed and tank cars carrying crude oil exploded into a giant fireball.

In a March 11 briefing she said: “It’s the mayors, like me, who end up living with the life-shattering consequences of such a terrible tragedy.” …In addition to the massive number of fatalities, Lac-Megantic has to rebuild its destroyed town center, a process that’s already cost $400 million. About 50 buildings burned down, Roy-Laroche said, and “a river of burning oil” seeped into sewers and basements.The fire burned with such intensity that it rendered many of the surviving homes and businesses uninhabitable. The remains of five of the 47 victims have not been found.”

She and other Canadian and American mayors with the Cross-Border Municipal Coalition for Railway Safety are pushing the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, the administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, and members of Congress to address inadequate railway safety regulations that put citizens of Canada and America at great risk.

We at DCSR thank her and the other mayors for their action, and encourage our mayor in DC to address the issue of rail safety with similar energy and urgency.

Read more about their visit here:





C100 Press Release: “CSX Tunnel Draft EIS Is Wrong and Must be Revised”


“In comments to DDOT and the Federal Highway Administration, Monte Edwards, Vice Chair of the Committee of 100, called for a Revised Environmental Impact Statement on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel citing three major problems.  “The Draft Environmental Impact Statement, prepared by a consultant and issued by the District Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, should be substantially revised because it is incomplete, contains false statements and is biased in favor of the proposed multiyear, open trench continued-freight-traffic project, ignoring existing low-impact alternative rail routes,” said Edwards. ”

Click here (Press Release CSX_C100_State3-4-14) to read the full PDF press release explaining these three major problems regarding shared tracking, alternative routes, and the project’s negative affect on passenger rail.

VAT on the Kojo Nnamdi Show: Listen Here

The Virginia Avenue Tunnel project was discussed at length on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU on Monday, 3/3/14. Click here to listen to the audio stream.

Guests included:

John Heffner
Rail Transportation Attorney
Curtis Grimm
Professor and Charles A. Taff Chair of Economics and Strategy, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.
Andrew Lightman
Managing editor, Capitol Community News
David Garber
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, Washington D.C. (6D07 – Navy Yard, Ballpark District, Capitol Riverfront)
Monte Edwards
Vice Chair, Committee of 100 on Federal City

**And listen for Tom Sherwood, who weighed in too!**


C100: CSX using “facts” that are “just plain wrong” to justify VAT plans

The Committee of 100 on the Federal City, a non-profit advocating for responsible planning and land use in Washington, D.C., discovered that CSX used “facts….that are just plan wrong” to defend why they could not reroute trains from the Virginia Avenue Tunnel either temporarily during construction or permanently.

CSX cites non-existent choke points, ignores recent upgrades, and bases plans on other misinformation.

In light of this, the C100 requested a revised draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) from CSX that should be prepared “by an independent rail consultant.”

Read the PDF here: 2014-02-27 C100 Supplemental Comments Requesting a CSX Rerouting VA Ave Tunnel

Rail Safety is Headlining National News!

Follow us for the latest updates on the VAT Tunnel and rail safety issues via twitter https://twitter.com/DCSafeRail  or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dcsaferail

Here’s a quick recap of some leading headlines this month on rail safety, hazmat dangers, and new guidelines intended to protect citizens and cities from disaster: 

1/14/14 Wall Street Journal “Cities Grapple with Oil-Train Safety”  http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702303819704579320971969135440-lMyQjAxMTA0MDIwMjEyNDIyWj

1/23/14 WSJ “Safety Board Calls for Tougher Standards for Shipping Crude Oil by Rail; NTSB Asks for Expanded Rail Routes to Avoid Populated Areas” http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702304856504579338663131838766-lMyQjAxMTA0MDIwMzEyNDMyWj

1/23/14 Washington Post “NTSB Wants Stronger Scrutiny of Dangerous Rail Cargo”  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2014/01/23/ntsb-wants-stronger-scrutiny-of-dangerous-rail-cargo/

1/24/14 Think Progress “‘Risky’ Crude Oil Trains Should Stay Away From Cities, Federal Investigators Say” http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/24/3201881/risky-crude-oil-trains-ntsb/

1/24/14 NPR “String of Oil Train Crashes Prompts Push for Safety Rules” http://www.npr.org/2014/01/24/265762435/string-of-oil-train-crashes-prompts-push-for-safety-rules?sc=tw

1/25/14 New York Times “Accidents Surge as Oil Industry Takes the Train” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/business/energy-environment/accidents-surge-as-oil-industry-takes-the-train.html?_r=0

1/27/14 Diane Rehm Show: “Dangers of Shipping Crude Oil by Rail and Call for New Safety Rules” http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2014-01-27/dangers-shipping-crude-oil-rail-and-calls-new-safety-rules