Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor’

FRA Has NEC Capital Funding Available

December 29, 2022

Funding is being made available for capital projects in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity that said the agency has $9 billion to devote to upgrading and expanding passenger rail service along the Northeast Corridor.

The funds are being channeled through a Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program administered by the Federal Railroad Administration.

The FRA said in the funding notice that it “will fund projects of national and regional significance; improving infrastructure; equipment; and facilities, including bridges and tunnels, rail stations and track.”

The agency defined the Northeast Corridor as extending from Boston to Washington. Intercity and commuter rail service in the corridor currently hosts 200 million annual trips.

The FRA said this makes the NEC one of the highest-volume rail lines in the world, accounting for 20 percent of the nation’s GDP.

According to the FRA, the number of Americans using NEC trains is now approaching pre-pandemic levels, with Amtrak ridership alone more than doubling in the past 12 months to 9.2 million passengers annually.

The partnership program has already begun funding such projects as new bridges over the Susquehanna River in Maryland, the Connecticut River in Connecticut, and the Portal Bridge in New Jersey,

Southbound Trains Bypassing Newark, Delaware Stop

December 9, 2022

Southbound Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains are temporarily bypassing the Newark, Delaware, station stop this weekend due to construction.

In a service advisory Amtrak said the station stairway is being repaired. The work does not affect northbound trains, which will continue to stop in Newark as scheduled.

The advisory said the service suspension is in effect through Dec. 11.

Train 193 will bypass Newark on Dec. 9 and discharge passengers at Wilmington. SEPTA Train 5227 will honor Amtrak tickets and accommodate Train 193 passengers traveling between Wilmington and Newark.

Trains 87 and 135 will bypass Newark station on Dec. 10 and 11 with no alternate transportation provided.

Amtrak Seeks Partner for Baltimore Tunnel Project

December 9, 2022

Amtrak said this week is is seeking a delivery partner for the project to replace a 150-year-old tunnel on the Northeast Corridor in Baltimore.

Under the delivery partner model ,a private party takes substantial risk-sharing, Amtrak officials said in a news release.

More than two dozen industry leaders responded to Amtrak’s recent request for information for the project.

The delivery-partner effort will complement the construction manager at risk phase of the tunnel project at its south end.

That phase is in the request-for-proposal stage and will include a new ADA-compliant West Baltimore MARC Station; all major excavation for the approach to the south portal for the new tunnel and bridge construction; and some utility and roadway work.

Funding for the project includes $20 billion from the in federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The new tunnel will replace the existing Frederick Douglass Tunnel.

FRA Sets Priorites for NEC Projects

November 17, 2022

A “project inventory” released this week by the Federal Railroad Administration for Northeast Corridor projects focuses largely on efforts to improve and develop commuter and intercity rail service.

The FRA this week released its priorities for funding projects between Boston and Washington. The list will guide release of up to $24 billion in funding that FRA is investing in NEC intercity passenger-rail service through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program, FRA officials said in a news release.

Some of the funding the FRA will disburse comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

FRA’s inventory list includes 68 projects divided into 15 major backlog projects and 53 capital renewal, stations and improvement projects.

Inclusion on the list is critical for receiving federal funding because a project must be in the NEC project inventory to be eligible for partnership program funding.

Back to 1978 on the Northeast Corridor

November 9, 2022

The wayback machine has taken us to the first decade of Amtrak operations in the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak GG-1 Nos. 910 and 905 are leading an Amtrak train through Morrisville, Pennsylvania on Aug. 23, 1978.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Amtrak Seeking Contractor for New Connecticut Bridge

November 2, 2022

Amtrak is seeking a contractor to build a new bridge over the Connecticut River.

In a news release, the passenger carrier said the contractor will be chosen next year to oversee construction of the two-track movable bridge.

The bridge is expected to reduce train delays in the Northeast Corridor. The existing bridge was opened in 1907 and is used by Amtrak, CT Rail Shore Line East commuter trains and freight railroads.

The national passenger railroad along the Federal Railroad Administration and Connecticut Department of Transportation are jointly funding the $500 million project.

Construction of the new bridge is expected to begin in early 2024.

NYC Hudson River Tunnel Project Will Be Completed 3 Years Later Than Earlier Projected

September 3, 2022

The Gateway Development Commission said this week that building a new tunnel under the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey will take three years longer than projected.

The tunnel, which is the largest component of the Gateway project in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, will be used by Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains.

It is now projected to open in 2035 and will cost $2 billion more than expected with commission officials saying that at least $1 billion of the added costs is due to inflation.

Total project cost is now set at $16.1 billion project.

The new tunnel will replace a century-old tunnel that former Amtrak President Joseph Boardman once said would need to be closed by 2034 for rebuilding due to age and damage from Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

Amtrak owns the tunnel. News media reports indicated the cost overruns are being covered in part by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and by the states of New York and New Jersey.

Grants to Benefit Amtrak Route Infrastructure

August 22, 2022

The Federal Railroad Administration announced last week that it has awarded more than $233 million in grants for infrastructure improvements to Amtrak routes.

The funding came from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program.

Most of the projects are located along the Northeast Corridor, but funding also will pay for projects in Michigan and California.

In the Northeast Corridor, a grant will provide $65.2 million for replacement of a bridge over the Connecticut River, and up to $20 million for replacement of two power substations on the state-owned New Haven Line.

The new bridge will provide additional clearance for marine traffic, allow train speeds to increase from 45 mph to 70 mph, and reduce the number of delays for bridge openings.

The new substations on the New Haven Line, used by more than 350 commuter trains and 60 Amtrak trains, will be more reliable and energy efficient, less costly to maintain, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In New Jersey, up to $45 million was awarded for replacement of the Sawtooth Bridges, two 110-year-old structures in Kearny used by Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. The two existing bridges will be replaced with three new ones, with four tracks providing redundancy for operations during maintenance work or service disruptions.

They will also allow an increase in operating speed above the current 60 mph.

In Maryland up to $20 million was awarded to fund final design for replacement of the 116-year-old, Amtrak-owned Susequehanna River Bridge between Perryville and Havre de Grace.

The new bridge will allow train operation at up to 125 mph, with greater clearance above the river and a movable span that can open and close more efficiently.

In New York, up to $10.7 million was awarded for work necessary in advance of the East River Tunnel Rehabilitation Project, and up to $4.5 million for preliminary stages of the Pelham Bay Bridge Replacment Project.

Before tunnel work can begin, a connection to Sunnyside Yard must be reinstalled and improved, and an electric traction power cable must be relocated.

The Pelham Bay Bridge over the Hutchinson River in the Bronx opened in 1907 and often fails to close properly.

The new bridge will increase clearance for marine traffic and raise operating speeds to 60 to 100 mph.

Also in New York, up to $28.2 million was awarded to replace a 520-foot-long, low-level platform with a high-level platform at Rhinecliff Station on the Empire Corridor.

The project will also include new access to the platform including stairs, elevators, and a pedestrian bridges, as well as track and signal work needed to allow an increase in Empire Service operations.

In California, up to $27.3 million was awarded for improvements in Oceanside on the Surf Line. The project will replace a 100-year-old, single-track bridge over the San Luis Rey River with a two-track structure, as well as improving a grade-crossing, bike path, pedestrian underpass, grading, drainage, and signals.

In Massachusetts, up to $7.6 million was awarded for replacement of the more than century-old South Elm Street Bridge on the MBTA’s Haverhill Line, which is also used by Amtrak.

In Michigan up to $1.6 million was awarded for reconstruction of five deficient bridges on the state-owned rail line between Kalamazoo and Dearborn, used by Amtrak’s Wolverine and Blue Water trains. The work will improve reliability, increase load ratings, and avoid future bridge closures.

Amtrak Releases Sustainability Report

August 22, 2022

Amtrak emphasized achievements in becoming more environmentally friendly in its 2021 sustainability report that it released last week.

The report noted that much of the new equipment it plans to purchase with funding made available by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will be more “climate friendly.”

This will include dual-power equipment that can operate on electricity or diesel power.

The dual-power equipment is slated to be assigned to the Northeast Corridor and select state-funded corridor routes.

New Siemens-built ACL-42 Charger locomotives being phased into revenue service on long-distance routes meet the fuel efficiency standards of EPA Tier 4 standards, Amtrak said.

This includes emitting 89 percent less nitrogen oxide and 95 percent less particulate matter than the P42DC locomotives being replaced.

Other highlights of the report included the Amtrak Connects US plan that was released during federal fiscal year 2021 that calls for development of 39 new routes and enhancement of 25 existing routes.

The passenger carrier said it has designed and deployed solar-powered technology to improve security on the Northeast Corridor in preparation for the launch of new Acela service.

Amtrak’s sustainability report said train travel is on average 46 percent more energy efficient than travel by car and 34 percent more efficient than domestic air travel.

Track Work to Affect NEC Schedules

August 12, 2022

Track work on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor will result in schedule changes effective Aug. 22.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said scheduled departure and arrival times of Acela and Northeast Regional trains may change by three to 10 minutes for northbound trains from Washington to New York. All Acela trains will depart Washington five or 10 minutes before the hour.