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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The existing track geometry and outdated tunnel design significantly impedes rail movement along corridor, creating a low-speed bottleneck that affects 85 Amtrak trains, 57 MARC commuter trains and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.