Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

Amtrak Agrees to Help Develop NYC-Scranton Corridor

July 21, 2021

An agreement has been reached between Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Northeast Railroad Authority to work toward the establishment of intercity rail passenger service between New York City and Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Amtrak said in a news release that it would provide infrastructure assessment and ridership and revenue forecasting estimates of equipment needs and other analysis of the proposed service.

The project review is expected to take about a year to complete and cost $400,000.

The New York-Scranton route was among several new corridors identified by the Amtrak Connect US plan to be developed by 2035.

The route would use the Lackawanna Cut-Off, a dormant dormant right of way owned by the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The proposed service would be three daily round trips that would connect with New Jersey Transit’s Morristown Line at SWIFT Interlocking (Kearny Connection), then on to Scranton via a rebuilt Lackawanna Cut-Off through a connection with the Morristown Line at Port Morris Junction. 

NJT Morristown Line service currently ends at Hackettstown although plans are in place to develop branch line service from Port Morris to Andover Township.

Other work that needs to be completed includes restoring the 1,024-foot Roseville Tunnel located about six miles west of Port Morris Junction.

Amtrak trains to Scranton would require new dual-power locomotives because the segment between Scranton and the Morristown Line will not be electrified.

Passenger trains last used the Lackawanna Cut-off in 1970. Conrail ended freight service there in 1978 and removed the tracks in 1984.

The route is named for the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western.

Estimates of the cost of restoring track between the Roseville Tunnel and Pennsylvania are around $300 million with most of that needed to repair the Hainesburg Viaduct and Delaware River Viaduct.

Advocates of the project hope to obtain funding from an infrastructure bill now being considered by Congress.

Portal Bridge Project Gets FTA Grant

January 13, 2021

The Federal Transit Administration has authorized New Jersey Transit to receive a $766.5 million grant for the $1.888 billion two-track, fixed-span Portal North Bridge Project.

The funding will be used to replace the 110-year-old Portal Bridge across the Hackensack River in the New Jersey Meadowlands on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

The Federal Highway Administration is providing $57 million toward the project, NJ Transit will contribute $811 million and Amtrak will provide $261.5 million.

The two passenger operators will share operating and maintenance costs for the bridge.

The federal money is coming from the Capital Investments Grants Program.

Officials said the start of construction is still a year away.

Amtrak Ups Contribution to Gateway Project

August 27, 2019

In hopes of moving forward the stalled Gateway tunnel project in New York and New Jersey, Amtrak has increased its funding commitment by $600 million.

At the same time, officials have said the cost of the project has fallen by $1.4 billion to $11.3 billion compared with prior cost estimates.

The Gateway Program Development Corporation incorporated those revised numbers plus Amtrak’s additional funding commitment in a new application for federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration.

The Gateway project is now seeking $5.4 billion, less than half of the project and $1.4 billion less than 2018 funding request.

Aside from Amtrak, the Gateway agency is also partnering on the project with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Frank Sacr, interim executive director of the Gateway agency,  said the hope is that the revised plan “will be attractive to the local partners and we believe also to the federal partners, and to the market.”

Construction costs were reduced by reorganizing the project into a smaller number of large packages for construction.

The proposed new tunnel under the Hudson River is located on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

It has been stalled by the Trump administration blocking a deal negotiated during the Obama administration with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

2 New Jersey Stations Get Additional Amtrak Service

August 27, 2019

Amtrak has added addition station stops in New Jersey for Northeast Corridor trains.

New Brunswick and Princeton Junction have gained weekday service.

New Brunswick is now served by four southbound and two northbound trains while Princeton Junction now has five southbound and two northbound trains.

Most of the trains involved serve both stations and all but one are Northeast Regional trains.

Southbound train No. 111 will stop at New Brunswick at 5:55 a.m. and Princeton Junction at 6:18 a.m..

No. 89, the Palmetto, stops at New Brunswick at 6:31 a.m. and Princeton Junction at 6:45 a.m.

No. 171 stops at New Brunswick at 1:20 p.m. and Princeton Junction at 1:35 p.m.

No. 177 stops at New Brunswick at 10:46 p.m. and Princeton Junction at 11:01 p.m.

Princeton Junction is also served by train No. 193, which stops at Princeton Junction at 6:13 p.m.

Northbound, both stations will be served by train No. 148, which stops in Princeton Junction at 7:35 p.m. and New Brunswick at 7:49 p.m.

No. 138 will stop in Princeton Junction at 8:35 p.m. and New Brunswick at 8:49 p.m.

Both stations have extensive service by NJ Transit, but the Amtrak service can cut travel times to and from New York by more than a half-hour compared to the commuter railroad.

States to Form Gateway Commission

June 24, 2019

New Jersey and New York are expected to approve legislation setting up a body that would oversee passenger rail projects affect the two states.

The proposed Gateway Development Commission would be similar in structure and purpose as the existing Port Authority of New York and New Jersey which is the agency currently overseeing planning, financing, and construction of the critical pieces of the Gateway Project.

This included the proposed new Hudson River rail tunnels and the Portal Bridge.

New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said the new agency will serve as a vehicle to to receive federal funding for the Gateway tunnel.

In the meantime, Federal Railroad Administration head Ronald Batory told a Congressional committee that his agency is continuing its environmental review of the Gateway project.

Testifying before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Batory said the FRA has finished 95 environmental review steps but has 27 yet to be completed.

“Does that mean another year? I don’t know,” Batory said.

Critic have accused the Trump Administration of slow walking the funding proposals for the Gateway project.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has called for the state and local governments to pay more for it because it is largely a “local project.”

Some observers have noted that the Gateway project has become a pawn in a feud between Trump and Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York)

Members of Congress from New York and New Jersey have described Gateway as a critical transportation corridor, saying that if existing antiquated tunnels fail that the reduced rail traffic would have negative repercussions for the U.S. economy.

Amtrak, NJT to Rebuild NEC in New Jersey

May 18, 2019

New Jersey Transit and Amtrak have announced plans to spend $31 million this year on infrastructure projects in the Northeast Corridor in New Jersey.

The work, which will get underway this spring and extend into the summer, is a result of an agreement reached between Amtrak and NJT in February whereby NJT agreed to pay Amtrak all withheld funds owed.

Projects to be under taken include a block tie replacement project that starts May 20 at Newark Penn Station.

The initial work will affect Tracks 1 and 4, which are the most used inbound and outbound track. Workers will replace wood ties with concrete ties on 95 feet on Track 1 and 1,100 feet on Track 4.

Also slated for rebuilding is the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River. Amtrak workers will replace timber decks on Tracks 2 and 3 this summer with more than 500 timbers per track being replaced.

A project to rebuild the Fair Interlocking north of the Trenton Transit Center Station will get underway on Aug. 5.

Workers will replace timbers and switch equipment, including total switch replacement for six switches.

Other work will include upgrading switch machines from air to electric, adding new electric switch heaters and replacing more than 700 ties and 350 switch timbers.

Catenary rebuilding will be undertaken on all four tracks between County Interlocking in New Brunswick and Ham, a distance of 20 miles.

This work is being done in preparation for high speeds as new Acela Express equipment enters service in 2021.

The work will include equipment removal, replacement, and new installation of constant tension catenary.

NJ Portal Bridge Won’t Open During Peak Rail Traffic

March 23, 2019

New rules implemented on March 14 by the U.S. Coast Guard will allow the Portal Bridge in New Jersey on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor to remain closed during peak travel hours.

The rules apply between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The change was made to avoid disrupting rail service for thousands of New Jersey Transit commuters and Amtrak passengers.

Amtrak and New Jersey transportation policy makers are seeking to replace the 111-year-old bridge, which spans the Hackensack River and is prone to failures when being opened or closed.

Operators have sometimes been unable to lock the bridge back into place after it has opened.

Replacement of the bridge is projected to cost $1.5 billion, but has been held up by a political fight between the state and federal transportation officials.

New Jersey, Amtrak Settle NEC Billing Dispute

February 14, 2019

Amtrak and New Jersey have reached a settlement of a dispute over past billing issues.

The settlement was announced on Wednesday and resolves a dispute over $189 million.

State and Amtrak officials said the settlement completes the state’s past obligations to Amtrak for service in the Northeast Corridor that NJ Transit trains use.

The agreement also will enable increased cooperation between the state and Amtrak for Northeast Corridor infrastructure projects.

This includes a new station in Elizabeth, New Jersey, which is expected to open next year.

It will also include providing NJ Transit additional space at Amtrak’s Moynihan Station in New York City when it opens in 2021.

There will be the creation of a joint NJ Transit, Long Island Rail Road, and Amtrak operations center.