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Amtrak continuing major projects in New York City area

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February 14, 2001 Amtrak is making major investments in the New York area to bring its bridges, tracks and other infrastructure up to a state of good repair, increase track speeds and improve operations, including a soon-to-start $10-million project to rehabilitate the Pelham Bay Bridge located along the Northeast Corridor.  

"Amtrak is committed to
maintaining and improving our infrastructure in New York to ensure the safety
of passengers and support efficient train operations," said Amtrak President
and CEO Joseph Boardman, noting a specific focus on the heavily traveled
Northeast Corridor between New York and Boston and on the Empire Line between
New York and Albany.

 

Boardman said Amtrak has
spent hundreds of millions of dollars in New York in recent years on numerous
infrastructure projects that are often worked on without much fanfare and are
hidden in plain sight, but nonetheless result in a safer and improved railroad
for passengers.

The most recent major investment
by Amtrak is the $10-million rehabilitation of the more-than-100-year-old
Pelham Bay Bridge in the Bronx. Scheduled to begin by the end of November 2009,
the project is designed to strengthen and repair the piers, piles, abutments
and foundations that support the tracks, the transmission lines and the
catenary wires above the tracks that feed electricity directly to the trains.

The improvements, funded
by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will make the Pelham Bay
Bridge more reliable and reduce maintenance on the structure that carries 43
passenger trains and two freight trains each weekday, and opens about 10 times
per day to marine traffic. The work is to be completed by October 2010.

An ongoing major project
is the $72-million effort to upgrade the catenary wires on the Amtrak Hell Gate
Line, the 20-mile stretch of tracks from New Rochelle to New York Penn Station.
The project, begun in 2006, is designed to modernize and replace electrical
equipment that dates as far back as 1914 and will provide more reliability,
fewer power disruptions and faster repairs to keep trains on the move. It is
funded by the Amtrak general capital program.

In October 2009 Amtrak
completed a $6-million rock stabilization project near the George Washington
Bridge located along the Empire Line to prevent rocks from falling on the
tracks, resulting in the increase of track speed from 15 mph to 50 mph. The
slopes were stabilized by removing 407 tons of loose rock and vegetation,
applying fiberglass-reinforced concrete, attaching more than 1,000 bolts and
installing nearly 90,000 square feet of wire mesh retaining walls. The project
was funded by Amtrak’s general capital program.

Additionally, in October
2008, the joint Amtrak-Metro North Railroad $110-million Shell-At-Grade
Interlocking project in New Rochelle was completed. Amtrak provided $99 million
from its general capital program for the project begun in 2004 to increase capacity
and improve reliability by removing and repositioning track switches, making
new track alignments, installing new rails and crossties and improving the
catenary wires and the communications and signal systems. As a result, track
speed increased from 15 mph to 45 mph, the number of tracks with platform
access at the New Rochelle station increased from two to three and the North
Avenue Bridge that crosses the tracks near the New Rochelle station was rebuilt.

Amtrak is undertaking
many other projects to maintain and improve its New York area infrastructure,
including spending $7.5 million from its FY 2010 general capital program to
repair six additional bridges on the Empire Line and $5 million from ARRA funds
for painting and maintenance of the Bronx Kill Bridge on the Northeast
Corridor.

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