United States transportation secretary Ray LaHood has announced investments of nearly $745 million for construction along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) rail corridor.
The money will be used by Amtrak to upgrade some of the most heavily-used sections of the line.
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.
“These grants are a win for our economy and a win for commuters all along the Northeast Corridor,” said LaHood.
“We are creating new construction jobs, ordering American-made supplies and improving transportation opportunities across a region where 50 million Americans live and work.”
Today’s announcement is part of the Obama administration’s capital investment in the Northeast Corridor, and the improvements will allow for the fastest passenger train speeds attained in North America to date.
Following the work, Acela Express trains will 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 modernised signals and tracks.
In the future, as Amtrak purchases new, next generation high-speed train sets, passengers will travel at world-class 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 travelling 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.
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