Eastern Shore of Virginia

Rail Trail


Cape Charles Rail Car at SunsetPhoto Courtesy of  Emily Machen, Eastern Shore Tourism

What is the Eastern Shore of Virginia Rail Trail?

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Rail Trail (ESRT) is a proposed conversion of the former Eastern Shore Railroad into a multi-use, regional trail that would extend 49.1 miles along the former rail corridor between the Towns of Cape Charles and Hallwood while passing through several other towns and communities in Accomack and Northampton Counties on the Eastern Shore.

Where is the Eastern Shore of Virginia?

The Eastern Shore of Virginia (ESVA) is located on the southern portion of the Delmarva Peninsula. Approximately 70 miles long, the ESVA stretches from the Maryland-Virginia State Line down to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which provides the Eastern Shore access to Virginia’s mainland.

What happened to the former railroad?

After a long decline in rail traffic, the railroad ceased operations in 2018. Because of this and deteriorating track conditions, the decision was made to preserve the rail corridor. You can find more information on the railroad’s history and corridor preservation in the ESRT Brochure under the “Volunteer” tab.

How will the ESRT benefit the public?

Once constructed, the ESRT will encourage healthy living through exercise and social connection, provide safe access to close-to-home recreation and community amenities, and increase tourism and economic development for communities on the Eastern Shore. Currently, the ESRT corridor benefits the public by accommodating regional infrastructure needs.

When will the ESRT be constructed?

Plans are underway to construct the first phase of the ESRT in the Town of Cape Charles located in Northampton County. This phase includes 2.3 miles of paved trail as well as a trailhead and Park and Ride Lot.

Although there are currently no other construction plans for the remainder of the ESRT, we are dedicated in our efforts to secure funding and move forward developing the rest of the trail.

Check back soon for updates!

Is the corridor open to the public?

No. While the ESRT itself may not currently be under construction, the rail corridor is indeed a construction zone and will remain closed to the public until work has been completed. 

What is currently being constructed along the corridor?

Construction work along the rail corridor includes track removal and sewer infrastructure improvements.

Still have questions? Email us!