Niantic River Railroad Bridge
Niantic River Bridge, photo by DM Coxe

The Associated Press reports that Amtrak is spending $50 million on projects in the Pacific Northwest. The majority, $35 million, will go to a new maintenance facility and a new storage and employee building near King Street Station. You can see the full list nationwide list, totaling $1.3 billion here at Amtrak’s website.

The bulk of the money nationwide, 57%, is going to the Northeast Corridor Acela line. The most expensive project on the list is a $100 million bridge over the Niantac river in Connecticut. The current bridge is not aging well, and replacing it is the only way Amtrak can maintain its current 100 mph speed there. $40 million is going to a new commuter rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York.

Later this month, the Federal Railroad Administration will release a plan documenting how they plan to spend the $8 billion in high speed rail cash from the stimulus package. A couple preview videos below the fold:

Here’s NBC news interviewing US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, where he talks about HSR:

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Here’s a link to a Good Morning America segment on the topic (both via the California High Speed Rail Blog).

14 Replies to “Amtrak Stimulus plus HSR Preview”

    1. In the ABC video it is mostly Japan. The MSNBC one looks like France and little bit of Japan too.

      Is that what you mean?

  1. I’m happy that the mainstream media is finally picking this issue up. Now I’m wondering where the Acela has to slow down to 30 mph, if it is on curves approaching stations, then that’d be fine, but I think if the cantery was upgraded from NY to DC, that would provide a full 150 mph through New Jersey.

  2. Important catenary and roadbed improvements are needed on the CTDOT/Metro North-owned line from New Haven to where the Amtrak line veers away toward Penn Station near New Rochelle. If memory serves the Acela trains are limited to about 90 MPH along that 40 mile stretch. There are certainly several other segments north and east of New Haven along the shore where maximum speeds are limited by curves and elderly bridges; the same is also true between Penn Station and New Rochelle. I’m less familiar with the current situation south of New York – the last time I took the Metroliner from Stamford to Washington, DC, in May of 1994, it was a very bumpy ride for much of the way, but Bill Cosby was on the train from New York to Philadelphia!.

  3. Why near King Street Station? Why not further south? King Street Station needs transit oriented development, not more souless industrial concrete boxes :-/

    1. My guess is that the King Street Area is considered industrial and can’t be used for residential living?

      1. That is where the coach storage yards for both Amtrak and Sounder are, just south of the stadia.

  4. It’s a shame they couldn’t save the Niantic River Bridge, as some sort of monument to industrial engineering. It’s a real work of art.

  5. Maybe this has been discussed on another post somewhere else, but I was very surprised and happy to see Secretary LaHood share such positive remarks in regards to Obama’s development of the rail plan. I was pretty unsure about what kind of Transportation Secretary he was going to be, especially after all the ruckus about Caterpillar being based in his district from earlier this year, but it seems that he is not only reinforcing Obama’s points about mass transit, but that he believes it himself. Hopefully he’ll be a rail advocate!

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