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Stay aware of the news, history, and policies affecting railroad issues for Washington DC. Below are some helpful sites and links to become more familiar with these topics.

  • Organizations’ Comments & Concerns on VAT Project
  • DC Freight Rail Issues
  • Studies, Reports, and More
  • Train Safety Articles
  • General Information



U.S. Environmental Protection Agency$file/20130207.PDF?OpenElement

Here’s a quote from their Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) comment via the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process underway:  

“As a result of our review EPA has identified some deficiencies and areas of concern, including environmental justice, children’s environmental health, cumulative impacts, and community impacts, especially vibration, parks, visual, and utility disruptions…there still remains a great deal of information that should be shared with the public, including final information regarding noise, vibration, utility disruptions, and post-construction configuration of Virginia Ave SE.”

EPA includes 10 pages of unanswered questions regarding:

  • noise and vibration, lack of details regarding distance between high-vibration activities and local homes
  • lack of details in build alternatives
  • impacts to parks, how mature trees will be replaces
  • water and vegetation, where construction runoff will go
  • impacts on utilities and power lines, lack of details on plans to relocate water lines on Marine property
  • impacts on the Marine Corps Recreation Facility (also used by the community)
  • lack of attention to environmental justice (i.e. impacts on disadvantaged and minority populations
  • children’s health, including possible negative impacts of this construction (and the cumulative effects of VAT and other area construction) on asthma, lead contamination, and general health
  • cumulative impacts, as this area in DC has multiple construction projects running simultaneously. At no point does CSX consider the cumulative effects of multiple, nearby construction projects on homes and health
  • impact on the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers
  • blatant omissions, such as visual impacts of the construction, arrangements for trash removal from the site (to avoid roaches and rodents), the time frame to reconstruct VA Ave, detailed information on air pollution (idling vehicles, containing fugitive dust, fuel types used)
  • lack of noise barriers or curtains
  • no mention of restricting night work
  • need for public communication plan (hotline, email list, etc.)


Capitol Hill Restoration Society

“The project will have adverse effects on both the L’Enfant Plan and the Capitol Hill Historic District…this project would involve earthmoving and trenching across a historic district in close proximity to fragile historic structures, effects and their avoidance and minimization need to be thoughtfully studied.”

CHRS’s concerns include

  • Traffic, particularly lack of consideration on how rerouted traffic could affect historic buildings
  • Traffic and construction disruption of pedestrian travel and business activities on 8th St.
  • likely construction “threats to [the] physical integrity” of the historic St. Paul AUMP church
  • potential historic value of the VAT itself and potential archeological value of the site
  • potential adverse effects on the Marine Barracks and Commandant’s House


The Committee of 100: Request for Revised DEIS (Construction Plans) due to CSX using “facts….that are just plain wrong.” 2/27/14

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

The Committee of 100 Public Comments

See PDF (C100.DEIS_comments)

“The Committee of 100 recommends that the Virginia Avenue Tunnel draft EIS be revised to address a number of deficiencies, and that the DC Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration adopt the No-Build Option until such time as the draft EIS can be substantially revised to adequately consider serious operational and physical concerns and consider the short- and long-term benefits of the separation of freight from commuter and passenger rail service.”

C100 is highly critical of the DEIS and the contents. Here’s are some basics from this 38-page comment:

  • Lack of meaningful build alternatives “In this DEIS, only one approach is being considered – rebuilding the tunnel in approximately the same location, but with two tracks and sufficient clearance for double-stacking. All three “alternatives” are just variations on this approach.”
  • CSX’s failure to consider or comply with with federal and local railway planning efforts, resulting in a “narrow and self-serving” DEIS
  • Omitting impacts on passenger and commuter rail
  • Failure to address safety and security issues
  • Failure to consider impact on air quality
  • Detailed analysis of “purpose and need statement”
  • Identifying alternate routes and rerouting possibilities


Capitol Quarter I HOA (CQ1 Comment Draft VAT EIS Final PDF)

Capitol Quarter II HOA (CQ2 VAT Public Comment Letter v3 9 12 13 PDF)

sierra club

Sierra Club (Sierra Club Comment Endorsing C100 Comment.rtfd TXT)


Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D



The Washington Post

Fire in Virginia Avenue Tunnel, November 17, 2013:

Virginia Avenue Tunnel Proposals by CSX Raise Concerns:

hill rag

The Hill Rag

Last Word Submissions, October 2013 (Hill-Rag.October-2013 PDF)

Last Word Submission, November 2013 (Hill-Rag.November-2013 PDF)

In 2009, VAT project would be a 2- to 3-year project. Today, CSX is saying 3 to nearly 6 years:


DC Council’s 2005 Fight to Ban Hazardous Material Transports in DC:


Critical Infrastructure Security Series, “New Strategies to Protect America: Putting Rail Security on the Right Track,” 2005:



Freight Railroad Realignment Feasibility Study Summary:


Howard Road Tunnel disaster,

Derailment in Baltimore, May 23, 2013

Anacostia River Bridge Derailment by CSX Train:

Howard Street Tunnel Disaster

Lac Megantique, Quebec disaster, July 2013

  • In Lac Megantic, Quebec, a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in that small town, killing nearly 50 residents, flattening a 30 block area, and contaminating the town. CSX has not specified which kind of oil might be transported through the VAT, (merely saying that some hazardous materials and oil are permitted, via a press release from Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton’s office.) What area would a similar explosion affect if it happened on Capitol Hill?

lac megantic overlay capitol hill

See larger image by clicking here L-M Blast Radius 10-13-13 – SM


nats stadium

Navy Yard Area and Local Businesses:

train tunnel jdland

Wikipedia on VAT Project:

CSX Website about VAT:

navy yard

Capitol Hill and Near Southeast/Navy Yard Interests:


Hill Rag:


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