• ITVI.USA
    15,859.850
    -49.550
    -0.3%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.773
    -0.003
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.460
    -0.150
    -0.7%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,864.700
    -50.600
    -0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.520
    0.380
    12.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.960
    -0.660
    -18.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.610
    0.250
    18.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.340
    -0.130
    -3.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.100
    -0.250
    -10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.860
    -0.220
    -5.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    -2.000
    -1.6%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,859.850
    -49.550
    -0.3%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.773
    -0.003
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.460
    -0.150
    -0.7%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,864.700
    -50.600
    -0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.520
    0.380
    12.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.960
    -0.660
    -18.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.610
    0.250
    18.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.340
    -0.130
    -3.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.100
    -0.250
    -10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.860
    -0.220
    -5.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    -2.000
    -1.6%
NewsRail

Freight rail benefits from intercity passenger rail grants

Projects in California, Connecticut, Virginia, among other states

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is awarding $291 million to 11 intercity passenger rail projects in nine states as part of the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program.

Although the grants are aimed at projects that seek to improve intercity passenger rail performance through the repair, rehabilitation and replacement of assets, the grants can also benefit freight rail, which uses the same assets. 

This DOT “has invested billions in railroad infrastructure to ensure the safe movement of passengers and goods throughout our nation,” said Administrator Ron Batory with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). “These investments have proven vital during this challenging year and kept essential supplies moving throughout our nation, and these State of Good Repair grants will continue those improvements and enhance passenger rail service to ready the nation for the forthcoming recovery.”

The $291 million includes $198 million from the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 and $93.4 million from remaining funds from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019.

Projects that name freight rail as a beneficiary are listed below. A full list is available here.

Amtrak & Connecticut Department of Transportation ($65.2 million)
Connecticut River Bridge Replacement

The project replaces the Connecticut River Bridge with a resilient, moveable bridge immediately south of the existing structure. The new bridge will increase maximum speeds from 45 mph to 70 mph. Bridge users include Amtrak’s intercity services, Connecticut Shore Line East commuter service and freight operators.

The existing Amtrak-owned, 113-year-old bridge poses a risk of long-term major disruption on the Northeast Corridor due to its age and condition, FRA said. The replacement bridge will maintain the two-track configuration and existing channel location, and provide a bascule moveable span with additional vertical clearance for maritime traffic, the agency said. 

Southern California Regional Rail Authority ($31.8 million)
Pacific Surfliner Corridor Rehabilitation and Service Reliability

This project will rehabilitate track, structures and grade crossings in Ventura County and northern Los Angeles County, including assets used by Amtrak intercity service, Metrolink commuter service and BNSF (NYSE: BRK). The project will reduce trip times, increase reliability and improve safety by reducing the need for slow orders and conflicts at grade crossings in the corridor.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Amtrak and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation ($15.9 million)
Harrisburg Line Signal System Renewal: Paoli to Overbrook

The project replaces and upgrades train control signal systems to a state of good repair between Paoli and Overbook on the Amtrak-owned Harrisburg Line in Pennsylvania. The line serves Amtrak intercity service, SEPTA commuter service and freight rail. The project replaces an antiquated signal system with modernized equipment, enabling greater operational flexibility, higher operating speeds and bi-directional train movement on all tracks in the project area, FRA said. 

Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation ($14.4 million)
Newington Road Bridge Replacement

The project replaces an existing double-track rail bridge owned by CSX (NASDAQ: CSX) with two new double-track rail bridges to be owned separately by CSX and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The corridor serves Amtrak intercity service, Virginia Railway Express commuter service and freight rail. 

The existing bridge is over a century old, is not in a state of good repair and spans a single-lane roadway, which will be widened to a two-lane roadway with standard vertical and horizontal clearances as part of the project, FRA said. Additionally, the new spans will eliminate slow orders related to the bridge condition and allow for 60-70 mph operating speeds, FRA said.

A separate double-track rail bridge owned by CSX is planned outside the scope of this award, which will serve and enable future growth in passenger service in the corridor, FRA said.

North County Transit District ($9.84 million)
San Diego Next Generation Signaling and Grade Crossing Modernization

The project replaces and upgrades obsolete signal, train control and crossing equipment on a 60-mile section of North County Transit District right-of-way the carrier shares with Amtrak intercity service and freight rail. It will install new signal houses, signals and cabling and replace components at more than 15 grade crossings along the corridor.

New York State Department of Transportation ($2 million)
Hudson Avenue Grade Crossing Rehabilitation and Safety Improvements

This project replaces and upgrades crossing warning devices and adds accessible pedestrian walkways and gates at the Hudson Avenue grade crossing in Peekskill, New York, on Metro-North’s Hudson Line, which serves Amtrak intercity service, Metro-North commuter service and freight rail. The project will replace the 40-year-old warning system and crossing gates with modernized components at this busy, double-track corridor. 

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Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

Related articles:

Federal Railroad Administration awards CRISI grants

Federal government offers $244 million in grant money for rail projects

Rail industry groups eye pandemic relief/capital investment funding

Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.

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