Posts Tagged ‘FRA Consolidated Rail Infrastructure Safety and Improvements grants’

Colo. Rail Projects Gets More Funding

September 30, 2020

A recent federal grant awarded to fund a study of intercity rail passenger along Colorado’s Front Range will be bolstered by $137,000 from state and local government agencies.

The Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission, Pueblo County, city of Trinidad, and Colorado chapter of the Rail Passengers Association will provide that money to match the $548,000 received from a federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant.

“This funding will ensure that the Front Range Passenger Rail Project can move forward into detailed stages that will help determine specific engineering and operational challenges as well as give us a far better understanding of potential benefits and costs,” said Randy Grauberger, project director for the commission.

That study will examine the types of equipment, technology and infrastructure the corridor will require for passenger operations.

Also part of the review will be an assessment of revenue projections, suggested service frequencies and estimated benefits.

Planners are expected to recommend a governance structure for the rail operator.

Amtrak Routes to Benefit from CRISI Grants

September 24, 2020

Several federal CRISI grants were awarded this week that will improve routes used by several Amtrak trains.

A Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grant of $31.8 million grant was awarded to Ramsey County, Minnesota, to be used toward launching a second train between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago,

The funding will be used to complete final design work for infrastructure needed to accommodate the train, as well as construction of track, signal, and bridge improvements.

Matching funds will be provided from Minnesota ($10 million), Wisconsin ($6.2 million) and Amtrak ($5 million.

One existing Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee is expected to be extended to the Twin Cities.

The Michigan Department of Transportation will receive $15.6 million to improve pedestrian safety between Dearborn and Kalamazoo on Amtrak’s Michigan Line.

The funding will be used for fencing and other safety enhancements at grade crossings that have a high rate of foot traffic.

Officials said 12 pedestrians have been struck by trains in the past four years and there have been numerous near-misses.

The Washington State Department of Transportation received a $3.7 million for landslide mitigation north of Seattle in a mud slide-prone area near Mukilteo, Washington.

The area hosts 14 passengers and an average of 21 freight trains a day and has seen numerous service interruptions.

The funding will be used in the third phase of a program that began in 2016.

New Mexico Department of Transportation received $5.6 million to rebuild the route over Raton Pass used by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

The work will include 12.4 miles of welded rail, 14,750 new ties, repairs to two bridges, rock scaling in three locations, and rebuilding of three grade crossings.

Total project cost is $11.5 million and includes $1 million in funding from New Mexico and $4.9 million from Amtrak.

In a news release, Amtrak said the latest CRISI grant is the fifth federal grant that has been awarded for rebuilding the route of the Chief in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico.

In the pending project, work will begin next year to install new ties on a 31-mile section south of Raton Pass and another six-mile segment in New Mexico.

More than 12 miles of bolted rail will be converted to welded rail between Lamy and where Rio Metro’s Rail Runner commuter traffic diverges to Santa Fe.

Although being rebuilt are the decks of two bridges and three grade crossings.

Although it won’t immediately affect any current Amtrak routes, an award of $47.55 million was given to the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the purchase of CSX’s S-Line rail corridor from Raleigh to Ridgeway, North Carolina.

The Buckingham Branch Railroad received $13.67 million to rebuild 70 miles of track, 14 grade crossings and five bridges in Virginia.

The work will also include construction of new drain systems in the Afton tunnel liner to reduce ice buildup; and improvement of clearances in two additional tunnels along the North Mountain Subdivision line between Charlottesville and Clifton Forge, Virginia.

The route is used by Amtrak’s Cardinal.

Grant to Rebuild Bridge Used by Amtrak

June 16, 2019

A federal grant will be used to repair a bridge over the Mississippi River used by Amtrak trains.

The grant of $28.8 million was awarded by the Federal Railroad Administration to the

Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis to rebuild the MacArthur Bridge over the Mississippi River.

Completed in 1917, the bridge carries Amtrak’s Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle trains and it’s the primary rail crossing of the river at St. Louis.

The work will involve replacement of the main span girders on 677-foot structure.

The project cost of $57.3 million project will also be shared by the five Class I railroads serving St. Louis.

The grant will come from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program.

The FRA had in 2017 awarded $7.1 million to replace the west approach to the bridge, the Broadway Street Truss.

Officials said the rebuilding will extend the life of the bridge to 2085 and bring the structure up to current standards.

Federal Grant to Help Rebuild Chicago Junction

June 13, 2019

A busy and often congested Chicago railroad junction used by Amtrak will get an upgrade with the help of federal funding.

The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded a $19.2 million CRISI grant to the Chicago Region Environment and Transportation Efficiency program to reconfigure Dolton Junction interlocking in Dolton and Riverdale, Illinois.
The interlocking is used by more than 100 freight and passenger trains of CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National, Union Pacific and the Indiana Harbor Belt.

The work will involve upgrading and reconfiguring the connections, including the replacement of a NS connection between the CSX and IHB lines.

A third mainline will be built to provide direct access from CSX and Barr Yard to the UP mainline.

Crossovers will be built between two IHB mainlines, the connection between IHB and UP will be upgraded and remote control will be installed to automate Dolton Tower.

The project extends from 136th Place in Riverdale on the north to Monroe Street in Dolton on the south, and from Eggleston Avenue on the west to Center Street on the east.

Amtrak trains using the junction include the Cardinal and the soon to be discontinued Hoosier State.

CREATE said the work once completed will raise freight train speeds on multiple routes from 15 mph to 30 mph.

That will mean less potential for Amtrak trains to be delayed passing through the interlocking.

Grant to Help Restore New Orleans-Mobile Service

June 10, 2019

The Southern Rail Commission announced over the weekend that a $33 million federal grant has been awarded to help restore Amtrak service east of New Orleans.

Amtrak’s Sunset Limited operated tri-weekly between New Orleans and Orlando, Florida, via Mobile, Alabama, and Tallahassee, Florida, until August 2005 when the route was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The grant will be used to improve 140 miles of CSX track between New Orleans and Mobile.

The money is coming from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements fund administered by the Federal Railroad Administration.

The grant terms require that the funds be matched by commitments to supply capital investments and initial operating support from Mississippi, Louisiana, Amtrak, and the city of Mobile.

Earlier, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey had refused to participate in the CRISI grant bid.

At the time, Ivey said in a statement that she wanted “to make certain we know what kind of long-term financial commitments will be, long after the grant has been spent.”

She also said she wanted to know what effect passenger service might have on the Port of Mobile, which has received $150 million in state aid for an enlarged ship canal.

“We all agree that Alabama Docks issues need to be resolved before service can begin, but the CSX yard and port track leads are all east of the proposed station near the convention center in downtown Mobile, so there will be minimal interference,” said SRC Vice Chairman Knox Ross.

Passenger advocates see establishment of New Orleans-Mobile service as a step toward restoration of service to Orlando and the creation of service from Mobile to Birmingham, Alabama.

Projects to Benefit Amtrak Routes

February 9, 2019

Amtrak stands to benefit from some of the railroad improvement  projects that recently won federal grant funding.

The Federal Railroad Administration said this week that it will award more than $56 million in grants, covering 18 projects in 16 states as part of the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program.

In Florida, the installation of supplemental safety features at 48 grade crossings will benefit the Virgin Trains USA route between West Palm Beach and Miami.

Officials said the work is expected to cut the number of grade-crossing violations by keeping motorists and pedestrians from trespassing as trains approach.

Amtrak’s Lincoln Service trains and the Texas Eagle will see a trip time reduction of three minutes due to a reconfiguration of the Lenox Interlocking in Mitchell, Illinois, located 16 miles northeast of St. Louis.

The project is expected to provide operating flexibility at a junction of four rail lines used by six railroads operating 46 trains per day.

In St. Louis, funding was awarded to replace the Broadway Truss of the Terminal Railway Association of St. Louis’ MacArthur Bridge across the Mississippi River.

The bridge is more than 100 years old and serves as the nation’s second longest railroad bridge. The work will work will increase horizontal clearance of the bridge, which is used by Lincoln Service trains and the Texas Eagle.

In New York, replacement of timber bridge decks with ballast decks on three bridges on the Hudson Line in Dutchess and Columbia counties will eliminate current speed restrictions and allow for future 110-mph operation.

Twenty-six Amtrak trains per day use these bridges, including the Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Ethan Allen Express, Adirondack and Empire Service trains.

Work will be performed in Vermont to stablize slopes along an 80-mile section of the New England Central Railroad used by Amtrak’s Vermonter.

The project will lead to the elimination of slow orders that have resulted in 216 hours of annual passenger delays and 520 hours of freight delays as well as decreasing safety risks.

A second second platform, elevator towers, and an overhead pedestrian bridge will be built at the Milwaukee Airport Amtrak station, allowing passenger trains to use both tracks and ease congestion resulting from the current single-track configuration for passenger service.

The station is used by Hiawatha Service trains.

Gulf Coast Revival Misses Funding Deadline

June 23, 2018

Efforts to revive Amtrak service along the Gulf Coast suffered a setback this week when the Southern Rail Commission cited lack of financial commitments from the states to be served for missing a funding deadline.

The SRC lacked the financial commitments needed to qualify for a Federal Railroad Administration Consolidated Rail Infrastructure Safety and Improvements grant. The states of Mississippi and Alabama declined to provide funding.

The grant program was created with a push from U.S. Senator Roger Wicker and former Senator Thad Cochrane, both of Mississippi.

To win the grant funds, the SRC needed matching funds of $35.5 million from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards pledged $9.5 million but governors in Mississippi and Alabama didn’t follow suit.

In a statement, Alabama Governor Ivey said: “I am hopeful that one day we may have the luxury of providing financial support for passenger rail service, but now is not the time when we have other challenges which must take priority.”

If Alabama and Mississippi are willing to provide funding, the SRC said it could still seek the federal funding in fiscal year 2018.

“I know I speak for my fellow commissioners when I say I’m very disappointed to not take advantage of this funding for which Gulf Coast passenger rail is so perfectly suited,” said SRC Chairman John Spain.

Amtrak served the Gulf Coast with its tri-weekly Sunset Limited between Orlando, Florida, and Los Angeles until the service was suspended in August 2005 in the aftermath of damage the track and station infrastructure caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.