Government Issues

Amtrak to install PTC, upgrade high-speed corridor in 2014

Posted on March 12, 2014

Amtrak plans to move forward on key improvement projects in 2014, including continued installation of positive train control (PTC), the start of major construction to upgrade Northeast Corridor (NEC) high-speed rail and expansion of station accessibility for passengers with disabilities.

“With limited federal capital funding, we are doing the work that needs to be done to keep the railroad operating and taking action where we can to achieve safety, operational and passenger travel improvements,” said President/CEO Joseph Boardman. “However, to truly realize the mobility and economic benefits offered by passenger rail, there must be dedicated federal funding to support a multi-year planning and construction program.”


The agency is continuing its aggressive program to install PTC on an additional 1,200 track-miles beyond the approximately 530 track-miles where it is already in operation on some Amtrak-owned sections of the Northeast Corridor and all of its Michigan Line.

Amtrak is also taking action to obtain needed radio spectrum to transmit data critical to make PTC operational in the new areas. The agency is currently on target to meet the 2015 federal deadline.

Photo courtesy Loco Steve via flickr
Photo courtesy Loco Steve via flickr
NEC high-speed rail

Amtrak is beginning major construction activities on a 23-mile section of the NEC between Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., to increase top train speeds to 160 mph from 135 mph and improve reliability along this heavily-used section.

The project will upgrade track and various elements of the electrical and signal systems to support the higher speeds and reconfigure track switches at Penn Station New York to mitigate congestion issues.

ADA accessibility

Also this year, the agency will advance its Accessible Stations Development Program with continuation of existing construction work at eight stations in three states and new construction activities at 21 stations in eight additional states.

Additionally, necessary ADA-related design work will be completed for 61 stations in 20 states.

Other upgrades, replacement programs

Finally, Amtrak will move forward on other infrastructure projects, including various planning elements of the Gateway Program to expand track, tunnel and station capacity between Newark, N.J. and New York’s Penn Station; the installation or replacement of nearly 165,000 cross ties, 23 miles of rail, and several dozen track switches, turnouts and interlockings; the upgrading of numerous sections of its electrical and signal systems along the Northeast and Keystone Corridors; and state-led projects to upgrade tracks and signal systems.

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