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Rail News: Amtrak

Public feedback sought on study to improve Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel


Federal, Maryland and Amtrak officials are seeking public input on an engineering and environmental study of a plan to improve the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel (B&P Tunnel) in the Northeast Corridor.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Amtrak are advancing the study to examine ways to improve the 141-year-old B&P structure in an effort to address a longstanding bottleneck.

To that end, an open house will be held June 19 in Baltimore to review the study and solicit feedback. Additional meetings will beheld throughout the study process. The $60 million federally-funded study began last fall.

"The B&P Tunnel is as much a critical link to the Northeast rail corridor today as it was in 1873 when it was built," said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo in a press release. "The study being undertaken … is the first step in replacing this aging infrastructure with a new tunnel that meets the increased demand for capacity and enhances the efficiency of rail operations on one of the busiest rail corridors in the world."

The two-track tunnel, which opened in 1873, is located between the West Baltimore MARC Station and Baltimore Penn Station, and is used by Amtrak, MARC commuter-rail trains and Norfolk Southern Railway freight trains.

The existing track geometry and outdated tunnel design significantly impedes rail movement along corridor, creating a low-speed bottleneck that affects 85 Amtrak trains, 57 MARC commuter trains and one to two freight trains each day, officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/12/2014