Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Amtrak: We’re “Ready to Build”

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An Amtrak ACS-64 locomotive No. 642, also known as the Veteran’s locomotive, passes over the North Portal Bridge. The bridge is a key component of the Gateway Program and plans are to replace the existing bridge with a high-level, fixed span bridge resulting in faster trip times and greater reliability. An Amtrak ACS-64 locomotive No. 642, also known as the Veteran’s locomotive, passes over the North Portal Bridge. The bridge is a key component of the Gateway Program and plans are to replace the existing bridge with a high-level, fixed span bridge resulting in faster trip times and greater reliability. Amtrak

Amtrak says its "Ready to Build" and a new campaign highlights five projects the railroad has deemed critical in order to realize a "renewed, modern passenger rail system."

 

The "Ready to Build" campaign includes a series of short films to emphasize needed investment at major stations, such as Chicago Union Station, as well as in infrastructure along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) where the majority of Amtrak-owned assets are located.

Amtrak explains the demands for passenger rail service on the NEC, which carries 260 million intercity and commuter customers annually, continues to outpace investment that has resulted in a more than $38-billion backlog of deferred capital investments. Amtrak says the backlog risks future service expansion and reliability.

"The NEC is a central artery for the greater Northeast, which generates 20 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and is one of the country's principle economic engines," said Amtrak co-CEO Wick Moorman. "These major projects are critical to keeping people, the economy and the nation moving forward."

Amtrak and its state and federal partners have started the planning and regulatory reviews required for these complex, multi-year projects. Once funding is identified and obtained, Amtrak and its partners are ready to finalize design and begin construction for the following critical investments:

  • Hudson Tunnel Project (New York – New Jersey): Construction of a new Hudson River rail tunnel serving New York Penn Station will provide greater operational flexibility and infrastructure resiliency, following damage from Superstorm Sandy.
  • Portal North Bridge Project (New Jersey): Replacement of the century-old Portal Bridge with a new high-level, fixed-span bridge will result in faster trip times and greater reliability as well as eliminate the need to open for maritime traffic.
  • Major Stations Development (Northeast and Chicago): Leveraging public-private partnerships and underutilized land and air rights to transform facilities that are more than 50 years old into vibrant commercial transportation hubs.
  • Susquehanna River Bridge Project (Maryland): Replacement of existing two-track bridge with two new high-level bridges with a total of four tracks, allowing for increased speeds and eliminating the need to open for maritime traffic.
  • Baltimore & Potomac (B&P) Tunnel Project (Maryland): Replacement of the Civil War-era, 30 mph bottleneck with a four-tube tunnel that allows for more reliable and more frequent service.

 

Amtrak is the majority owner of the NEC infrastructure and its connecting corridors; the NEC is a shared transportation asset that runs through eight states and the District of Columbia. It is used by Amtrak, eight commuter rail partners and multiple freight operators that together run nearly 2,200 daily trains.