Finally, Talk of Growth:Quick Reactions to the FRA’s Long Distance Study Last week, the Federal Railroad Administration presented a proposed list of routes to be studied, as well as some initial thoughts about governance. The proposal would add 15 long-distance...
Amtrak Applies for Grants to Improve Long Distance Network and Northeast Corridor
Amtrak has submitted federal grant applications for approximately $716 million in funding for Long Distance routes and $7.3 billion in funding for Northeast Corridor projects. The applications were submitted through grant programs created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), including the Corridor Identification Program and the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program.
The Northeast Corridor applications include 14 proposed projects to modernize critical infrastructure, improve stations and expand Amtrak service. Amtrak also supplied letters of support for 23 Northeast Corridor projects submitted by other applicants.
This Long Distance grants include 16 proposed projects that would improve the reliability of Amtrak’s national network, reduce travel times and expand service.
Examples of Long Distance projects include:
- Multiple Cardinal and Sunset Limited service improvements
- Increase service to operate daily – up from 3x/week currently (Corridor ID Program)
- Increase Cardinal train speeds and reduce travel times between Indianapolis and Dyer, Ind.
- Sunset Limited return to Phoenix
Southwest Chief signal modernization between Colorado and New Mexico
Empire Builder rail enhancements in Montana
I-20 Crescent service extension from Mississippi through Louisiana to Texas
Construction of new Crystal City station that would add service to Arlington, Va.
Amtrak also announced that they provided letters of support for 83 projects outside of the Northeast Corridor that were submitted by other applicants. At the Alliance we have worked hard to make sure local leaders are aware of these new federal grant programs and encouraged them to submit projects. It’s exciting to see such a high response level, which proves what rail advocates have always known: people want better trains serving their community.
We need to continue growing these federal programs so we can match the demand for train service across the country.
Caltrain Electrification Testing Begins
Caltrain has begun testing its electric trains as they continue making progress towards becoming a world-class regional rail network. The goal is for electrified trains to run at cruising speeds of 110 mph with departures every 15 minutes throughout the day. This will pave the way for future high-speed trains to run on the corridor and make Caltrain the first true regional rail line in the U.S., setting a standard for the rest of the country to follow.
Michigan has made substantial investments in passenger-rail service, for increased operational efficiency and time savings on the five current, round-trip services that Amtrak operates in the state. Continuing to make improvements to these routes remains a priority for Michigan, as well as exploring the potential for increased or expanded service. This includes improvements to rail infrastructure South of Lake, which will allow for better passenger-rail operations and reliability. Michigan plans to continue partnering with other Midwest states and Amtrak to identify projects and improvements that will lead to better passenger-train service.
Speaker: Peter Anastor, Director of the Office of Rail, Michigan Department of Transportation
Come learn about TransitMatters’ advocacy for Regional Rail in Boston. They envision a new business model centered around transforming the region’s commuter rail network into a modern, electric network and fleet of vehicles to bring rapid-transit like frequent and reliable service to the entire Metro Boston region. This would be transformative for the region and their work is a good model for other commuter rail networks looking to make the switch to a Regional Rail system.
Speaker: Jarred Johnson, Executive Director, TransitMatters
Please join us for a webinar with Metra to learn how they are moving towards a regional rail service model. This is an important strategic shift that was outlined in Metra’s latest Strategic Plan, “My Metra, Our Future.” At its core, the shift to regional rail means offering more frequent service throughout the day, which can meet the demand for trip types beyond just commuting. It’s a bold new vision for Metra and we are excited to learn more about their goals.
Speaker: David Kralik, AICP, Director of Planning and Programming, Metra.
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