The Wall Street Journal reports that New York state has been awarded approximately$150 million dollars for improvements near Albany. $91 million will go towards building a second track between Albany and Schenectady. This section of the line is currently single track, and hosts a large number of passenger and freight trains. The double tracking of this portion will allow east and west bound trains to pass each other, instead of one having to hold and wait for the other to clear. The remaining $58 million will be used for station improvements and relocation of signal wires south of Albany.
People often say that in order to have good train service, we need to build expensive new right of ways and spend a lot of money that our country does not have. This is a prime example of the error of that thinking. This section of double track will cost much, much less than building a whole new right of way, and will do a lot to reduce bottle necking and improve service reliability.
If the old saying “A chain is only as strong as the weakest link” is true and it often is, we should focus our policy on identifying the weak links in the system and fix them. This process will improve service in an extremely fiscally responsible manner.