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FRA unveils long-range plan for Northeast Corridor

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) late last week unveiled its long-awaited plan for rail improvements and upgrades along the Northeast Corridor (NEC), calling for billions of dollars in investments over the next 30 years that would improve and increase rail service between Boston and Washington, D.C.

The plan aims to reduce rail traffic bottlenecks through increased capacity and faster trains by adding and upgrading infrastructure, including bridges and tunnels. The plan now goes to the states, cities and railroads involved to determine whether to implement its recommendations.

“In order to keep moving forward, we need a new vision for the Northeast Corridor – a corridor that can move an ever-increasing population safer, faster and more reliably than before,” said FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg in a press release.

The recommendations include:
• adding new tracks to increase the NEC to four tracks in most locations, which would allow for more frequent and faster service. Additional tracks would be added to areas with greater demand;
• providing intercity access to Philadelphia Airport so passengers don’t have to change trains at 30th Street;
• adding direct and frequent service to Hartford, Conn., and Springfield, Mass.; and
• increasing — and in some cases doubling — the number of regional trains and providing up to five times more intercity trains.

Implementing the plan's recommendations would help speed up travel time from Boston to New York City by 45 minutes, and from New York City to Washington, D.C., by 35 minutes.

"We need a corridor that provides more options and more trains for commuters," said Feinberg. "One that allows for seamless travel between the nation’s capital and New York, and New York and Providence, R.I., and Boston. A corridor that provides streamlined connections between a city’s airports and its city center. And a corridor that can efficiently and reliably serve a population that is growing quickly."

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More News from 12/19/2016