More Tracks to Move More People and at Higher Speeds

More examples are available here.

  • Vermont and Massachusetts are working on two major projects to restore and expand the Vermonter service along the Northern New England rail corridor. The more than $141 million in rehabilitation work will improve the conditions of the track, roadbed, grade crossings and bridges, in some cases replacing track originally put down in the 1950s. The project will allow speeds in this area to increase while improving safety and reducing delays.
“Since this project dovetails with the stimulus-funded track improvements in Massachusetts and Connecticut, it will greatly reduce the time it takes the Amtrak Vermonter to travel from St. Albans to New York City,” said Brian Searles, Vermont Secretary of Transportation. “Not only will that 90-minute reduction represent a significant long-term improvement in the corridor, but we will also enjoy tremendous short-term benefits such as the creation of a number of much-needed jobs in our region.”
  • In California, $34 million is being used to construct a third main track between Los Angeles and Fullerton. The work, done in conjunction with BNSF Railway Company, will include signal work, modern traffic controls, drainage systems, utility work, and a number of other processes to upgrade the Pacific Surfliner line.  BNSF’s contractual on-time performance between Fullerton and Los Angeles improved to 95.6 percent in 2009 for Amtrak’s Surfliner trains operating between Los Angeles and San Diego. In addition, the three state-supported passenger rail lines move more people than the Acela service in the Northeast, representing Amtrak’s second busiest corridor, behind only the Northeast Corridor. This project is expected to significantly improve that performance and passenger volume.
  • New York’s Department of Transportation is beginning construction on a second main track between the Albany–Rensselaer and Schenectady stations to help eliminate a major delay in passenger service along the current 17-mile-long, single-track crossroad in the heart of the state. Safety along this track will be improved through the installation of new crossing-gate warning devices at each of three at-grade crossings.
  • Increased speeds in the Chicago-St. Louis rail corridor are also the goal of an Illinois project to upgrade rails, ties, grade crossings, and signals between Dwight, Illinois, and the Mississippi River.  Using $1.1 billion in Recovery Act funding coupled with $46.1 million in state matching funds, the project will allow speeds to be increased to 110 MPH by 2012.  New locomotives and passenger cars will also be purchased as part of the project, to be delivered in 2014.
  • Missouri is using Recovery Act funds to improve access to the busy terminal in St. Louis. Negotiations are underway to complete a two-mile track to improve the flow of both passenger and freight trains in St. Louis and across the Midwest, according to Brian Weiler, director of Multimodal Operations for the Missouri Department of Transportation.
  • In the Pacific Northwest, Washington plans to reroute passenger trains from the BNSF Railway main line near Point Defiance to an upgraded line that will run along the west side of I-5.  The project team is currently conducting an environmental assessment for traffic, noise, and vibrations, and have held more than 40 briefings and presentations with the residents and businesses in the area.  Also planned are advanced warning systems and added safety improvements at several at-grade crossings along the route.

“This funding will help create and save good-paying jobs as we work to modernize out state’s rail infrastructure.  In addition to helping commuters get where they're going, this investment will also benefit the movement of freight rail in our state that is so critical to our economy.” -- U.S. Senator Patty Murray

The effects on America’s manufacturing capability are reaching far beyond the immediate areas under construction. Steel Dynamics, Inc., in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is making the new rails for the Maine and Vermont projects. Officials at the company’s Columbia City plant said they plan to add a second shift of workers to keep up with the new orders.

“Our dedicated employees are very motivated and are making rapid progress ramping up rail production….We believe that the nation’s renewed emphasis on both freight and passenger rail transportation will provide our steel business a unique opportunity for incremental growth.”

—Dick Teets, President and COO of Steel
Dynamics Inc.’s Steel Operations