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PTC, higher speeds and accessibility in Amtrak infrastructure programme

11 Mar 2014

USA: The continued roll-out out of Positive Train Control, works to upgrade the Northeast Corridor and improvements to station accessibility for passengers with disabilities are included in Amtrak's infrastructure programme for 2014.

PTC has now been installed on 850 track-km of Amtrak-owned sections of the Northeast Corridor and its Michigan line. The 'aggressive' PTC roll-out programme is on target to meet the 2015 federal deadline, with an additional 1 900 track-km still to be covered.

This year Amtrak is to begin major track, signalling and electrical supply upgrading works on a 37 km section of the Northeast Corridor between Trenton and New Brunswick, New Jersey, to increase maximum speeds from 216 to 256 km/h and to improve reliability. There will also be layout changes at New York's Penn Station to reduce congestion.

The accessible stations programme for 2014 will see the start of work at 21 stations in eight states, and design work for 61 stations in 20 states.

Other infrastructure projects include planning the Gateway programme to increase capacity between Newark, New Jersey, and New York Penn; ongoing construction of a concrete box through the Hudson Yards development to preserve an alignment for a future tunnel into Manhattan; and design work for the replacement of major assets including the Susquehanna River, Pelham Bay and Connecticut River bridges and the B&P Tunnel.

In addition, Amtrak will undertake works for state-led projects to upgrade track and signalling between Kalamazoo and Dearborn in Michigan; Poughkeepsie and Albany in New York, and between New Haven, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts.

'With limited federal capital funding we are doing the work that needs to be done to keep the railroad operating and taking action where we can to achieve safety, operational and passenger travel improvements,' said President & CEO Joe Boardman. 'However, to truly realise the mobility and economic benefits offered by passenger rail, there must be dedicated federal funding to support a multi-year planning and construction programme.'