Amtrak will mark 2010 with major projects and new initiatives that will benefit passengers, increase service and rebuild infrastructure. .
“Amtrak enters 2010 with a strong sense of optimism, enthusiasm and purpose,” said President and CEO Joseph Boardman. “We have an aggressive game plan to modernize, renew, and grow America’s passenger railroad,” he said, noting increasing ridership from 21.6 million in FY 2002 to 27.2 million in FY 2009, with an all-time record of 28.7 million in FY 2008.
Boardman explained that numerous projects and initiatives being undertaken in 2010 support goals established in Amtrak’s new strategic guidance including becoming safer, greener and healthier and improving financial performance, customer service and meeting national needs.
Boardman added that Amtrak is partnering with 25 states in support of more than 100 projects submitted for funding from the $8 billion made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for intercity and high-speed rail capital improvement grants. An announcement from the U.S. Department of Transportation on which projects have been selected
is expected this winter.
During 2010, Amtrak also will undertake track and bridge construction projects, safety and security enhancements, and will release a plan to replace and expand its locomotive and passenger railcar fleet, among many other projects and initiatives.
Highlights of major activities Amtrak will begin, continue or complete during the coming year include:
- Major infrastructure improvement projects funded by $1.3 billion in ARRA funds.
- ARRA-funded renovation of the station in Wilmington, Del.; expansion of the Auto Train station in Sanford, Fla.; restoration of locomotives and passenger railcars in Beech Grove, Ind., and Bear, Del.; improved emergency exits and fire detection and suppression systems in New York tunnels; and enhanced accessibility at more than 200 rail stations across the country.
- A new plan to replace and expand their fleet of locomotives and passenger railcars with the purchase of several hundred single-level and bi-level long distance passenger railcars and more than a hundred locomotives.
- Undertaking an in-depth evaluation of the poorest performing long-distance routes to identify and implement changes where possible to improve key measures such as customer service, ridership, and financial performance.
- Installing Positive Train Control and enhancing safety by the end of 2012 — three years ahead of a Congressional deadline for the rail industry — on sections of Amtrak-owned tracks not already equipped with the sophisticated technology capable of controlling train movements to prevent collisions.
- Strengthening security. Amtrak passengers will see a more interactive police and security presence in 2010 with greater emphasis on random and unpredictable patrols, baggage screenings and other activities in stations and on trains. Amtrak will continue to expand its K-9 explosive detection teams, harden stations and strengthen cooperative inter-agency operations with local, state, and federal law enforcement and counterterrorism partners.