THE United States’ Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded $US 16.4bn in funding for 25 passenger rail infrastructure improvement projects along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Programme (Fed-State NEC). Amtrak will receive nearly $US 10bn for the 12 projects it will lead.

The 735km NEC serves Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC, carrying approximately 2200 Amtrak, commuter and freight trains on some portions of its route each day.

FRA funding will support the replacement or upgrade of 12 major bridges and tunnels on the NEC, some of which are more than 100 years old, as well as support renewals and upgrades to track, traction power supply and signalling systems, and stations.

Amtrak CEO, Mr Stephen Gardner, says the funding will help to advance its plans to modernise the NEC “and unlock major bottlenecks on the busiest rail corridor in America.” US transportation secretary, Mr Pete Buttigieg, adds that the investment will make the United States’ “busiest passenger railroad safer, faster, and more reliable, which means fewer delays and shorter commutes for the 800,000 passengers who rely on the Northeast Corridor every day.”

The new funding is part of the $US 66bn in funding allocated to passenger rail in the Biden administration’s signature Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The FRA awarded Amtrak nearly $US 200m through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (Crisi) grant programme in September. The passenger operator expects to receive further grants to improve its long-distance and state-supported services outside the NEC through the FRA’s Corridor ID Programme and the Fed-State Partnership Programme by the end of this year.

The projects

The 12 projects that Amtrak will lead are:

  • Frederick Douglass Tunnel Programme  (up to $US 4.7bn)
  • Susquehanna River Rail Bridge Project (up to $US 2.08bn)
  • East River Tunnel Rehabilitation Project (up to $US 1.26bn)
  • Connecticut River Bridge Replacement Project (up to $US 826.64m)
  • Dock Bridge Rehabilitation Project (up to $US 300.2m)
  • Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project (up to $US 133.3m)
  • Baltimore Penn Station Redevelopment (up to $US 108.3m)
  • Pelham Bay Bridge Replacement Project (up to $US 58.3m)
  • Gunpowder River Bridge Replacement Programme (up to $US 30m)
  • NEC South End Infrastructure Renewal and Speed Improvement Planning Study (up to $US 21.6m)
  • Bush River Bridge Replacement Programme (up to $US 18.8m)
  • New Haven to Providence Capacity Planning Study (up to $US 4m)

A further 13 NEC projects led by Amtrak’s partners also received funding, including:

  • Hudson Tunnel Project - Gateway Development Commission (up to $US 3.79bn)
  • Penn Station Access - Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) (up to $US 1.64bn)
  • Walk Bridge Replacement Project - Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) (up to $US 465m)
  • Devon Bridge Replacement Project - CTDOT (up to $US 245.92m)
  • Delco Lead - NJ Transit (NJT) (up to $US 180.9m)
  • New Haven Line Power Improvement Programme - CTDOT (up to $US 122.8m)
  • Devon Bridge Interim Repairs - CTDOT (up to $US 119.32m)
  • Hartford Line Rail Programme Double Track (Phase 3B) Project - CTDOT (up to $US 104.86m)
  • New Haven Line Track Improvement and Mobility Enhancement Part 1 and 3 - CTDOT (up to $US 71.64m)
  • Newark Penn Station Vertical Circulation Improvements - NJT (up to $US 59.2m)
  • Reconstruction of Cornwells Heights Station - Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Septa) (up to $US 30.5m)
  • Saugatuck River Bridge Replacement - CTDOT (up to $US 23.2m)
  • New Haven Line Network Infrastructure Upgrade Project - CTDOT (up to $US 15.4m)

A further detailed breakdown of the projects and what they entail is available via the Railway Age article here.