My first meeting as a consultant on this job was in late 2004. I (like many others) pushed paper and put up with This job for about seven years after that.
They never said as much, but in their actions, Amtrak never showed much interest in the job to expand the capacity of their corridor, and other factors piled on as well.
- Amtrak engineering reviews moved at a glacial pace, and then missed things that they claimed to care about later
- complete disconnect between what engineers/lawyers in philly and dc wanted, vs what their own field personnel needed.
- outlandish demands were made at the eleventh hour regarding c&s matters, upending years of negotiations, then retracted after delaying the project.
- consulting engineers were unwilling to seal plans on the existing bridge without abutment work, which Amtrak didn’t seem to think was necessary (but they wouldn’t say so or take responsibility for it, of course)
- Amtrak demanded that Delaware buy the rail (not just pay for it, buy/inspect/own it), then later decided against it
- Denrec decided at the eleventh hour that the wetlands were more critical than thought and wouldn’t allow the work, then acquiesced later. In retrospect it looks like attempted extortion.
- Amtrak demanded that Delaware hire and oversee the contractor doing all the grading and structural work, despite having little experience in railroad matters and creating a liability nightmare. I am not sure if they continued to demand that. Anyone know who’s doing the work?
And those are only the things I remember!
It’s a shame. The project seems like a win-win for both parties. Perhaps some lessons are in order for the whole state funding model that many parties seem so hell bent on?
Long-Distance trains are the root of all evil in the known universe.