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Stafford rail stations in line for expansion

MORE: Read more Stafford County news

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The two Virginia Railway Express stations in Stafford County will get platform expansions in the coming years.

The VRE Operations Board on Friday voted to put out requests for preliminary engineering proposals and environmental assessments for the projects. This is necessary to get the process started.

That preliminary work could begin in September.

The platform expansions at the Leeland and Brooke stations are geared toward handling expected growth in commuter rail passengers, as well as the addition of a third track along the CSX railroad lines used by VRE, Amtrak and freight trains.

The station projects call for adding a second platform at each station, on the opposite side of the tracks from the current platforms.

The current platforms also will eventually be extended to accommodate 10-car trains, the longest VRE trains can be based on the commuter rail system’s long-range plan.

The plans also include adding canopies to each station, LED lights and a pedestrian crosswalk between the platforms, according to VRE.

The platforms are expected to cost a combined $10 million to $12 million.

Money for the projects will come from the Fiscal Year 2015 Rail Enhancement Fund and in-kind contributions from the developer of the Potomac Shores development on the Cherry Hill Peninsula in Prince William County.

“This is a big change,” said Paul Milde, Stafford supervisor and chairman of the VRE board.

He said the Potomac Shores developer is covering the local matching funds, which the county wouldn’t have been able to afford.

The platforms could be completed by 2020.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436