Founded in 1997, Virginians for High Speed Rail is a 501 (C) (3) not-for-profit coalition of citizens, localities, economic development agencies, community organizations, and businesses that educate and advocate for the improvement and expansion of rail service in Virginia to achieve fast, frequent, and reliable rail service.
VHSR works closely with the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Amtrak, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, Virginia FREE, Sierra Club, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for Smarter Growth, Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Railroad Passengers, and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters.
We foresee a Commonwealth that is economically competitive, socially vibrant, and environmentally sound. We envision a comprehensive, high-tech transportation system, consisting of High Speed Rail and other modern passenger rail services, linking major urban areas. We foresee these services working seamlessly with all other modes of transportation, including the state's primary commercial airports, the Washington-area Metro system, Virginia Railway Express commuter rail, and urban public transit.
The mission of Virginians for High Speed Rail (“VHSR”) is to promote rail transportation as an energy-efficient, environmentally friendly mode of transportation for which there is a substantial and growing market, as reflected by user trends, and unmet demand, in both freight and passenger transport.
Virginians for High Speed Rail seeks to originate and compile relevant rail information, to communicate, educate, and advocate for preservation, modernization and expansion of rail transportation services of all types, including those devoted to the movement of cargo, as well as to the movement of people.
VHSR will implement and pursue achievement of its mission goals and objectives by leveraging the organization’s modest resources.
VHSR will seek to utilize its board and staff to reach individuals, groups and other organizations, which have – or should have – a compelling interest in the objectives set out in the VHSR mission statement.
By a process of education, encouragement, motivation, and supportive assistance, VHSR will seek to elevate public awareness of the importance of rail, and by so doing to inspire and stimulate pro-rail development advocacy initiatives by others.
The end-goal of VHSR is to facilitate a process whereby public policy makers hear and will be persuaded to heed rising public desire for rail enhancement, including the ultimate development of High Speed Passenger Rail, and High-Performance Freight Rail. VHSR believes the two must go hand-in-hand.
More specifically, VHSR seeks to emphasize the importance of creating a high-performance, higher-speed, inter-regional rail passenger service network in Virginia and the United States to enhance domestic transportation options, to improve mobility, to protect the environment and to promote economic competitiveness and quality of life.
What Is High Speed Rail?
High Speed Rail has multiple definitions. Virginians for High Speed Rail defines High Speed Rail by three factors; location, distance, and speed. That's because market-competitive trip times, rather than top speed, will ultimately define the commercial success of High Speed Rail.
Therefore: High Speed Rail is a network of inter-city passenger rail services along a given corridor (such as the DC-to-Richmond corridor) supported by other feeder and distribution services. Primary corridor trains would operate at an overall average speed of at least 70 MPH, while feeder services might initially operate at an overall average speed of at least 45 MPH.
Why High Speed Rail?
High Speed Rail is a cost-effective, environmentally responsible, and efficient approach to the transportation challenges Virginia will face in the 21st Century.
Worsening highway congestion adds countless hours to the workweek for Virginia commuters. Congestion in urban air space and on the ground is becoming a major problem for Virginia business and leisure travelers.