The Rivanna Subdivision runs for 120 miles between Rivanna Jct. in Richmond and Gladstone. The water-level route runs parallel to the James River. It was constructed in the early 1880s after the railroad acquired the right-of-way of the James River and Kanawha Canal. At Strathmore, CSX interchanges traffic with the Buckingham Branch Railroad, which runs to Dillwyn.
Signals are C&O-style three-color lights. Audible defect detectors are positioned about every twenty miles.
The Rivanna Sub carries all loaded trains from coal fields of West Virginia and grain from the Midwest. Much of this traffic is for export and continues on the Peninsula Sub to the Port of Newport News. Several empty westbound empty trains also pass over the line on a daily basis. The remainder of the westbound empty traffic is routed over the old C&O main through Charlottesville. A coal-fired power plant at Bremo Bluff also receives service. The only regular exception to the coal traffic is the daily appearance of Russell to Acca Yard manifest trains. Interchange traffic to and from the Buckingham Branch is set out at Strathmore yard.