All four tracks on a six-mile stretch from Melrose to Woodlawn now allow for speeds up to 75 miles per hour, resulting in improved performance and reliability in time for a May 11 schedule change. Trains were limited to 60 miles per hour prior to the start of the track reconstruction project.
"This project began out of an intensive focus on track safety that led to rigorous inspections using the most advanced rail inspection technologies that exist," said Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti. "Its completion and the enhanced safety it provides, allows us to lift the permanent and temporary speed restrictions that had existed on these tracks in time for our new May 11 schedule."
The project began on July 1, 2013, with crews first focused on Track 4, the southbound local track. When work on that track was completed, crews shifted their attention to the adjacent express track. By November 17, crews had finished rebuilding Track 3, the northbound local track. At that time, work was suspended until the spring. This April and May, work resumed on the last of the four tracks to be rebuilt, Track 1, an express track.
During the course of the project, workers removed 6,157 concrete ties, installed 7,537 new wood ties, installed 3,243 tons of ballast, trenched 6,350 feet of the right-of-way shoulder or between tracks to improve drainage, installed new rail on various curves, welded rail joints and installed new insulated joints, excavated and removed 4,995 cubic yards of mud created by poor drainage along the tracks and removed a significant amount of debris, garbage and graffiti on railroad property.