"The Vermonter project will grow our economy by moving people and goods more efficiently than ever before," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This is good news for rail travelers and for the regional economy and it's one more sign of President Obama's support for rail projects in New England and across America."
The project is one of the first major rail corridor projects to be completed under the Federal Railroad Administration's High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The project received $52.7 million in Recovery Act funds. The improvements will result in increased speeds, reduced travel time, greater reliability and an increased number of trains traveling each day.
Upgrades to the track included heavier continuously-welded rail, bridge work, new tie installation and ballast work. These improvements enable the scheduled running time for the Vermonter to be reduced by about a half hour and passenger train track speeds in signaled territory to increase from 50 to 79 miles-per-hour. The upgraded track increased weight capacity from 263,000-pound to 286,000-pound freight cars. The project also repaired and strengthened more than 50 bridges and improved 52 grade crossings on track owned by the New England Central Railroad.