Per WSHV in Harrisonburg and other media outlets, on September 21, 2020 Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced federal funding totaling $13,670,000 through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s FY20 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grants Program to install over 70 miles of rail and other infrastructure upgrades for the Buckingham Branch Railroad North Mountain Subdivision line between Clifton Forge and Charlottesville.

Funds from the program will benefit the upgrading of 70 miles of rail along with associated ballast, upgrades to 14 grade crossings and five bridges, constructing new drain systems in the Afton tunnel liner to reduce ice buildup, and improving clearances in two additional tunnels on Class III Buckingham Branch Railroad’s rail line.

The upgrades follow the 2019 announcement that the Commonwealth purchased 225 miles of rail throughout the state from several companies for $3.7 billion, with the purchase anticipated to expand the state’s passenger rail options. The purchase included the 173-mile Buckingham Branch Line from Charlottesville to Clifton Forge.