DOT Awards $83 Million to Upgrade Rail Lines in New England

Sept. 23, 2011
Funding will go toward upgrades of the Northeast Corridor and other rail lines in Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut and Vermont.

As part of the Obama administration's plan to create a national network of high-speed passenger-rail lines, the Department of Transportation earlier this week awarded $87.2 million in funding to improve the rail infrastructure in Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut and Vermont.

The funding will go toward upgrades of the Northeast Corridor, Connecticut's New Haven-Springfield line, Maine's Downeaster route and the Vermonter service, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

"These are the kinds of investments that will improve reliability and on-time performance and attract more passengers," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a news release. "We are creating jobs throughout New England, building our rails with American-made materials and growing the New England economy."

The funding and the receiving agencies include:

  • Rhode Island Department of Transportation -- $26.2 million for the design and construction of an electrified third track parallel to the Northeast Corridor's main line, and a new platform for the station in Kingston, R.I. The third track will reduce congestion and improve on-time performance for Amtrak and commuter trains, the Federal Railroad Administration said.
  • Rhode Island Department of Transportation -- $3 million for preliminary engineering and environmental reviews for American with Disabilities Act-compliant platforms at the Providence station on the Northeast Corridor. The project also includes improved parking and pedestrian access; station repairs; potential reconfiguration of transit circulation and drop-off facilities; and future tunnel improvements.
  • Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority -- $20.8 million to alleviate congestion and reduce delays on segments of Amtrak's Downeaster service. The project will provide double track and improve signals and highway-rail grade crossings between Wilmington and Ballardville, Mass. It also will replace aging rail with new, continuously welded rail between Lawrence and Bradford, Mass.
  • Connecticut Department of Transportation -- $30 million for 6 miles of new double tracks from Hartford to Windsor, Conn., which will connect with an existing siding to create a 9-mile double-tracks segment on Amtrak's New Haven-Springfield line. In addition, a new 8,500-foot siding will be added through the Hartford Yard to better clear freight trains off Amtrak's main line. The project also includes repairs and maintenance to bridges; signal improvements; and grade-crossing improvements.
  • Vermont Agency of Transportation -- $2.7 million for a 16-mile extension of improved signal and train-control technology to enhance the safety and operation of the Amtrak Vermonter service. The funding also will go toward upgrades to the dispatch communication system.
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