DOT to provide nearly $745M in rail funding for upgrades and construction in Northeast Corridor; enabling higher speed trains
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced nearly $745 million for construction along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) to upgrade some of the most heavily-used sections. The NEC will receive $449.94 million to upgrade electrical systems and tracks between Trenton, NJ and New York City, resulting in improved on-time performance and reliability, and an initial increase in top operating speeds up to 160 mph and future maximum speeds of 186 mph.
Another $294.78 million will alleviate major delays for trains coming in and out of Manhattan with new routes that allow Amtrak trains to bypass the busiest passenger rail junction in the nation.
The improvements will allow for the fastest passenger train speeds attained in North America to date. Thanks to these investments, Acela Express trains will soon reach up to 160 mph (up from 135 mph today) along a 24-mile segment of the corridor between Trenton and New Brunswick, NJ, with the replacement of electrical catenary, supplemented power supply, and modernized signals and tracks. In the future, as Amtrak purchases new, next generation high-speed train sets, passengers will travel at speeds of 186 mph along the improved track.
Improvements to the Harold Interlocking rail junction in Queens will eliminate congestion between intercity and commuter trains and allow for the future growth of high-speed service along the corridor. A new flyover will separate Amtrak trains traveling between New York and Boston from Long Island Railroad and Metro-North commuter trains, and NJ Transit trains accessing Sunnyside Maintenance Yard in Queens.
Both projects are expected to generate 12,000 jobs. Pre-construction work between Trenton and New York City will begin in late 2011, with initial construction commencing in 2012. The project is expected to create 400 jobs per year over the period of construction.
Construction on Harold Interlocking will begin in September 2012, creating 9,200 jobs over the length of the project, and include the procurement of new switches, miles of track, concrete ties, bridges, signal towers, catenary poles, and retaining walls.
Thirty-two states across the US and the District of Columbia are currently laying the foundation for high-speed rail corridors. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and annual appropriations have provided $10.1 billion to put America on track towards providing new and expanded rail access to communities and improving the reliability, speed, and frequency of existing service. Of that, more than $7.3 billion has been obligated to date.