WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amtrak detailed updated plans yesterday to bring high-speed rail service to the Northeast Corridor, making 94-minute trips between New York City and Washington D.C. possible by 2030 and between New York City and Boston by 2040.
“The NEC region is America’s economic powerhouse and is facing a severe crisis with an aging and congested multi-modal transportation network that routinely operates at or near capacity in key segments. With an expected 30 percent population increase by 2050, we must move beyond mere preservation and rehabilitation of the current system to a new vision for expanded transportation capacity and growth,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.
The NEC Capital Investment Program would increase tunnel and terminal capacity between Newark and an enlarged Moynihan/Penn Station complex in Manhattan as part of the Gateway Program by 2025.
Several major projects are now underway that will improve existing services and support the Amtrak NEC vision, including $15 million for Gateway Program planning, design and preliminary environmental review and utility relocation to support construction of a new Portal Bridge in New Jersey, which itself is currently in the final design stage.
Another major ongoing effort is a $450 million project funded by the Federal Railroad Administration high-speed and intercity passenger rail program to improve service reliability for intercity and commuter trains, modernize the electrical system and boost top speeds from 135 mph to 160 mph along a 24-mile section of the NEC between Trenton and New Brunswick — making it the fastest passenger track in North America. It also will reconfigure track switches at the western entrance to New York Penn Station to mitigate congestion issues. Major construction work is to begin in 2013 with anticipated project completion in 2017.
“Amtrak’s vision for the Northeast Corridor centers on a critical tunnel project that will be a major boon for New Jersey’s commuters and economy,” said U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg. “Investing in our railways will create jobs, bolster businesses, and take cars off of our congested roads. Amtrak will continue to have my full support as we move forward to revolutionize passenger rail travel in the Northeast.
The Amtrak Vision for the Northeast Corridor: 2012 Update Report is available from Amtrak’s website.