• NEC Future: HSR "High Line", FRA, Amtrak Infrastructure Plan

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by electricron
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 6:43 am OK volks, I'm sure all concerned know that a "bipartisan deal" has been reached in the Senate to appropriate $1T for infrastructure

The Times reports that if the T is enacted, Amtrak can expect to be looking at $66B, or 6.6%. No Fair Use quotation as the article only mentions this tangentially.

Now how does it get spent wisely?

I'm not sure if $66B, considering the pressures there will be to "spread it around", will be enough for the Gateway Tunnels, which to me is the top priority Amtrak infrastructure project.
The $66 Billion or so designated for railroads is going to be spent on projects already in the EIS planning pipeline.
(A) The Federal share of the $30 Billion Gateway Project, which includes building new tunnels, repairing old tunnels, building new bridges, building new tracks, and expanding NY's Pennsylvania Station. Off hand I would suggest $15 Billion at a minimum as the Federal share. But that could soar even higher as the 50-25-25 share has only been agreed to by US, NY, and NJ for specifically the Gateway Tunnels, just $12 Billion of the total $30 Billion. For all we know, that could be 6 Billion + 18 Billion as the final Federal share, it is not set in stone the Federal share will be limited to 50% of the remainder of the overall plan. Now if it was set in stone at 50%, the entire Gateway Projects will probably eat $15 Billion of the $66 Billion bipartisan deal.
(B) The Federal share of the new $4 Billion Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, presently limited to building two new tunnels and refurbishing two existing tunnels - but with extra infrastructure cash could turn into building all four new tunnels and retiring the two existing tunnels. I could not find any cost sharing agreement between the Amtrak and MARC, as funding has not been finalized. Is it safe to assume the Federal share will be just $2 Billion?
(C) The Susquehanna River Rail Bridge replacement, latest projection assumes costs up to $2 Billion. Whereas the design has not been finalized, so neither is its cost, the EIS is competed with a finding of no significant impact. All this project needs is funding to finish it.
(D) Connecticut River Bridge replacement, $400 Million is the latest cost estimation. Is in final design process that is scheduled to be completed in 2022, with bridge constructed and ready for operations by 2030. Amtrak could probably pay for it from its own finances, but they will take advantage of this free money. ;)
(E) East River Rehabilitations. Four tunnels Amtrak would love to rehabilitate completely one at a time. While the costs to do each tunnel is not significant, it is still more than what Amtrak's small budget allows. Never-the-less, the costs for doing all four tunnels adds up. Expect a Billion or so being spent on them.
(F) Bush River and Gunpowder River Bridge replacements. Feasibility studies underway, EIS process initiation awaiting feasibility study completions. No cost estimations to date.
(G) Getting the rest of the $33 Billion NEC backlog to "state of good repair" finished. Not individual capital projects, but operations and maintenance backlogs Amtrak will surely wish to spend. You do not need EIS studies to repair what already exists.

What I'm suggesting is that Amtrak NEC by itself can consume half of that $66 Billion, before we even start discussing new trains to new cities or more trains to existing cities.

Getting what you have already into tip-top shape is the wisest way to spend your money.
  by R&DB
 
#1576957 by electricron
Thu Jul 29, 2021 10:04 am
Everything you said. Is any of the remaing $33B designated for freight? Besides making the NEC four track, there are many class-1's lines that Amtrak uses that could be doubled, Especialy were the 2-track ROW is currently single. Another improvement that could be made is the Long Bridge at DC should be doubled. Other wish-list items:
another track to Richmond
rebuild the S-line
add another track to the Lake Shore Route
fix Atlanta
  by Ken W2KB
 
R&DB wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 9:26 am
#1576957 by electricron
Thu Jul 29, 2021 10:04 am
Everything you said. Is any of the remaing $33B designated for freight? Besides making the NEC four track, there are many class-1's lines that Amtrak uses that could be doubled, Especialy were the 2-track ROW is currently single. Another improvement that could be made is the Long Bridge at DC should be doubled. Other wish-list items:
another track to Richmond
rebuild the S-line
add another track to the Lake Shore Route
fix Atlanta
"Passenger and Freight Rail
Unlike highways and transit, rail lacks a multi-year funding stream to address deferred maintenance, enhance existing corridors, and build new lines in high-potential locations. The deal positions Amtrak and rail to play a central role in our transportation and economic future. This is the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago. The deal invests $66 billion in rail to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor, and bring world-class rail service to areas outside the northeast and mid-Atlantic. Within these totals, $22 billion would be provided as grants to Amtrak, $24 billion as federal-state partnership grants for Northeast Corridor modernization, $12 billion for partnership grants for intercity rail service, including high-speed rail, $5 billion for rail improvement and safety grants, and $3 billion for grade crossing safety improvements." "Public Transit
America’s transit infrastructure is inadequate – with a multibillion-dollar repair backlog, representing more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, and thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems in need of replacement. The deal invests $39 billion of new investment to modernize transit, and improve accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities, in addition to continuing the existing transit programs for five years as part of surface transportation reauthorization. This is the largest Federal investment in public transit in history, and devotes a larger share of funds from surface transportation reauthorization to transit in the history of the programs. It will repair and upgrade aging infrastructure, modernize bus and rail fleets, make stations accessible to all users, and bring transit service to new communities. It will replace thousands of transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero emission vehicles. And, it will benefit communities of color since these households are twice as likely to take public transportation and many of these communities lack sufficient public transit options." https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-roo ... ture-deal/
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. R&DB, I think all around here know I'm hardly the "World's Greatest AmFan" (someone's handle at another site), but I agree with much of your immediate thoughts.

I think it's time to "finish the job" on the Alton and relay the double track - just as was there until the GM&O yanked it during '69. Perfected signalling and train dispatching will then enable the "twelve a day" @ 110mph IDOT once envisioned and UP to have their freight (containers and autos consigned to Global Intermodal @ Elwood).

Likewise, I hold that the IC should be redoubled (hope we're not playing Bridge; that can get expensive) to Edgewood to enable the "five a day" and 90mph that was there when I was at UofI (sorry Prof Martland you missed out).

Now so far as the "Commonwealth of Train Lovers", I'm pretty sure they already had Federal (obtained during the Trump administration: WOW) and Local funding lined up for those projects. Long Bridge and and restoring triple track RF&P sound great; so would a reroute of all trains to serve Main Street, plus "do something about Ashland". So far as Westward expansion, Christianburg and VPI, "far enough".

All told my thoughts are tracks and signaling on the ground, and not consultants at the trough.
  by eolesen
 
I'm sure CAHSR gets some pork chops. Maybe the bridge approaches and double tracking East of NOL gets something, plus a third track CHI-MKE and perhaps extra Create funds?

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by electricron
 
west point wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 3:55 pm electricron" Isn't the B&P a series of 3 tunnels with 2 main tracks not 2 separate bores ?.
Is it?
Per Amtrak https://www.amtrak.com/bptunnel
"The B&P Tunnel Replacement Program will modernize and transform a four-mile section of the Northeast Corridor. It includes two new high-capacity tubes for electrified passenger trains, new roadway and railroad bridges, new rail systems and track, and a new ADA-accessible West Baltimore MARC station."

As for the existing B&P tunnels, per Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore ... mac_Tunnel
"The Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel (or B&P Tunnel) is a double-tracked, masonry arch railroad tunnel."
Additionally Wiki adds,
"In June 2021, Amtrak and the state reached an agreement on a $4 billion plan to replace the tunnel with two single-track tunnels (with an option for two additional tunnels later) by 2032. The tunnels will be named for Frederick Douglass and will allow speeds of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) versus 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) in the existing tunnel. Penn Line service will be converted to all-electric power as part of the project."

Both linked sources suggest replacing the original tunnel, ??????

Back on topic, it is difficult to spend money on new passenger train services without a legal mechanism to subsidize more trains. Today, the law suggests local authorities subsidizing Amtrak's losses on Regional train services. If states, counties, cities, and/or local transit agencies are not willing to subsidize the new regional trains services, will they ever come? No legislation has been submitted to change that requirement, although Biden wants to make these changes. Presidents do not have the power all by themselves to change legislation. That's why Amtrak's CEO is out barn storming for these new services, attempting to get the political support from the locals to subsidize them. Who knows, maybe Congress will pass a change in the law, then again maybe Congress will not. It is not something I believe Congress can change with a budgetary trick to avoid a filibuster in the Senate.
  by R&DB
 
Electricro wrote:
The tunnels will be named for Frederick Douglass and will allow speeds of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) versus 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) in the existing tunnel.
How far are the Baltimore Station(s) from the tunnel? Is 100 mph safe appoaching a station? But still any improvement over 30 is good.
  by RRspatch
 
R&DB wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 5:41 pm Electricro wrote:
The tunnels will be named for Frederick Douglass and will allow speeds of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) versus 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) in the existing tunnel.
How far are the Baltimore Station(s) from the tunnel? Is 100 mph safe appoaching a station? But still any improvement over 30 is good.
The tunnels in Baltimore are on either side of the station. Just to the north of the station on the other side of "Paul" interlocking is the Union Tunnels. Just to the south of the station on the other side of "Charles" interlocking is the B&P tunnel. While the new B&P replacement tunnel will allow for faster speeds I'm not sure the existing speeds in the Union tunnels can be raised by very much.
  by STrRedWolf
 
RRspatch wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:09 am The tunnels in Baltimore are on either side of the station. Just to the north of the station on the other side of "Paul" interlocking is the Union Tunnels. Just to the south of the station on the other side of "Charles" interlocking is the B&P tunnel. While the new B&P replacement tunnel will allow for faster speeds I'm not sure the existing speeds in the Union tunnels can be raised by very much.
The Union Tunnels are fairly straight... but the curves after it "northbound" are an issue.

It would be safe to assume any HSR plans on existing track would include a stop in Baltimore. Anything else would require moving the station and routing track between Franklin and Mulberry streets to underground tunnels (which to be honest, would be better than that *)[email protected]#( Highway to Nowhere).
  by electricron
 
west point wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:38 pm Thought there are proposals to widen Union tunnel and improve clearances ?
Many more plans are made that are never implemented.
I can plan to fly to the moon, climb Mount Everest, or bike across the USA, but that does not mean I will ever do so.
  by Arlington
 
west point wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:38 pm Thought there are proposals to widen Union tunnel and improve clearances ?
Nope. It is CSX’s nearby Howard St Tunnel that MD/CSX/Feds are heightening to double-stack (as part of a larger MD/CSX project to double-stack for CSX from DC to Philly)
  by lordsigma12345
 
From RPA this is supposedly the language:

Northeast Corridor (NEC) Grants – $6 billion – for procurement and deferred maintenance on the NEC.
Fed-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail – $36 billion –
NEC set-aside – $24 billion –
Funding for capital projects to repair, replace, or rehabilitate assets to improve performance and address maintenance backlog.
Amtrak National Network (NN) – $16 billion – to modernize and upgrade the NN, including all 15 long-distance routes and 28 state-supported routes.
Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) – $5 billion – competitive grant program to improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of intercity passenger rail and freight rail; leverages local and private sector funds.
Railroad Crossing Elimination Program – $3 billion – competitive grant program to eliminate railway-highway grade crossings.
Restoration & Enhancement Grants – $50 million – grant program to initiate, restore and enhance passenger rail service; eligible projects include restoration of discontinued service, additional frequencies, extension of existing service, and establishment of new service.
  by electricron
 
lordsigma12345 wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 5:59 pm From RPA this is supposedly the language:

Northeast Corridor (NEC) Grants – $6 billion –
Fed-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail – $36 billion –
NEC set-aside – $24 billion –
Amtrak National Network (NN) – $16 billion –
Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) – $5 billion –
Railroad Crossing Elimination Program – $3 billion –
Restoration & Enhancement Grants – $50 million –
Around $66 Billion of dollars for improving NEC and existing passenger rail services, just $50 Million for passenger service expansions.

Remember all those new lines on the Amtrak map for service expansions to new cities, how far do you think that tiny amount of $50 Million will take you? Maps can lie, numbers do not. So, some math follows;
$66 Billion / $50 Million = 1,320

Yes, over a thousand times more money to be spent on fixing existing services than being spent on building new services.
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