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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

USDOT announces new HSIPR grants


This morning, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced it has redirected $2 billion in High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail funds initially intended for Florida to Amtrak and 15 states. The grants will provide an “unprecedented” investment to increase train speeds in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), enable the Midwest to expand service and help states purchase new locomotives and rail cars, according to a press release.

Amtrak will receive the largest share of the funds — $795 million — to upgrade the most heavily used sections of the NEC, enabling the railroad to increase train speeds from 135 mph to 160 mph on “critical” segments, according to the USDOT.

Midwest states will receive a total of $404.1 million to upgrade track between Detroit and Chicago to allow for 110 mph operations, reducing travel time by 30 minutes.

In addition, California and five Midwest states will receive a total of $336.2 million to purchase new locomotives and rail cars. California will receive another $300 million to extend construction on the initial 110-mile high-speed segment in the Central Valley by 20 miles.

Following is a breakdown of the grant allocations:

Northeast Corridor
• $450 million to Amtrak to improve NEC track, and power, signal and catenary systems in one of the corridor’s most heavily traveled areas, creating a 24-mile segment of track that can handle 160 mph train operations.

• $295 million to New York to build new routes that enable Amtrak trains to bypass the Harold Interlocking — one of the country’s busiest passenger-rail junctions.

• $25 million to Rhode Island to design and construct an additional 1.5 miles of third track in Kingston, enabling trains operating at speeds up to 150 mph to pass other trains on a high-volume section of the corridor.

• $22 million to Maryland to conduct engineering and environmental work to replace the century-old Susquehanna River Bridge.

• $3 million to Rhode Island to conduct preliminary engineering and environmental work to renovate the Providence Station.

Northeast Region
• $58 million to New York to upgrade tracks, stations and signals along the Empire Corridor, including replacing the Schenectady Station and constructing a fourth station track at the Albany-Rensselaer Station.

• $40 million to Pennsylvania to rebuild an interlocking near Harrisburg on the Keystone Corridor.

• $30 million to Connecticut to build double-track segments between New Haven and Springfield.

• $20.8 million to Maine and Massachusetts to construct a 10.4-mile section of double track between Wilmington and Andover, Mass., improving service along Amtrak’s Downeaster route.

• $1.4 million to New York to conduct preliminary engineering and environmental reviews for a new Rochester intermodal station along the Empire Corridor.

Regional Equipment Pools
• $268.2 million to Midwest states to purchase 48 “high-performance” passenger cars and seven “quick-acceleration” locomotives for eight corridors in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri.

• $68 million to California to acquire 15 “high-performance” passenger cars and four “quick-acceleration” locomotives for the Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin and Capitol corridors.

Midwestern Region
• $196.5 million to Michigan to rehabilitate track and signal systems between Kalamazoo and Dearborn, bringing train speeds up to 110 mph along a 235-mile section of track.

• $186.3 million to Illinois to construct track along the Chicago-St. Louis corridor between Dwight and Joliet to accommodate 110 mph trains.

• $13.5 million to Missouri to advance design work to replace the Merchant’s Bridge over the Mississippi River along the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.

• $5 million to Minnesota to complete engineering and environmental work to establish the Northern Lights Express, which would connect Minneapolis and Duluth with 110 mph trains.

• $2.8 million to Michigan to conduct an engineering and environmental analysis to construct a new station in Ann Arbor.

Southern Region
• $15 million to Texas to conduct engineering and environmental work to develop a high-speed rail corridor linking Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston.

• $4 million to North Carolina to conduct an environmental analysis of the Richmond-Raleigh section of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corirdor.

California and the Northwest Region
• $300 million to the California High Speed Rail Authority to extend construction on the Central Valley corridor by another 20 miles, from Fresno to the “Wye” junction, which will provide a connection to San Jose to the west and Merced to the north.

• $15 million to Washington state to construct a Port of Vancouver grade separation, which will eliminate a congested intersection and bottleneck between freight and passenger tracks.

• $1.5 million to Oregon to analyze overnight parking tracks for passenger trains on the southern end of the Pacific Northwest corridor, which will add capacity and enable increased passenger- and freight-rail service.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/9/2011