It could just be just a matter of months until the Virginia Railway Express plan to create a new station in Crystal City reaches another milestone.

VRE officials project it will be in the third quarter of 2021 that preliminary engineering and environmental-impact steps toward eventual construction will be completed. The agency delineated the timeline as part of a broader report to the board of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.

If constructed, the new Crystal City station – located not far from the existing station – would be 800 feet long (double the length of the current station), and would allow for two tracks rather than the current one to permit future expansion into reverse-rush-hour service.

Completion is estimated for 2024, although at the moment only about $19 million of the projected $50 million cost is in hand.

The rail system is operated by the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, with its operating board made up of officials from the various jurisdictions.

Using trackage owned by CSX, VRE runs commuter service from points west and south into Alexandria, Arlington and the District of Columbia weekday mornings, then back out in the afternoon.

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