Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT announced a joint $31 million investment to improve railroad infrastructure along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) in New Jersey and to conduct renewal work throughout spring and summer 2019 as part of their ongoing partnership.
The work, which will lead to improved conditions for travelers, will be conducted throughout the state from the north end with projects at Newark Penn Station and Portal Bridge to the southern portion of the state with projects in Trenton, New Jersey. This extensive work and significant financial investment serve as the latest example of the cooperative relationship between NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak to enhance the customer experience for both commuter and intercity rail customers.
“As I stated back in February alongside Tony Coscia, our partnership with Amtrak is critical to restoring and renewing the infrastructure along the NEC, moving critical NJ TRANSIT capital projects forward like the new Elizabeth Station and expanding our presence in Penn Station New York — all with an eye toward improving the customer experience,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Kevin Corbett. “Through our partnership with Amtrak, the contributions from NJ TRANSIT are being reinvested back into Amtrak’s infrastructure in the state, ensuring our customers continue to enjoy the safe and reliable service they deserve.”
Specifics of the infrastructure improvement projects along the NEC in New Jersey include:
- Newark Penn Station – Beginning May 20, Amtrak crews will begin a block tie replacement program on tracks 1 and 4 at Newark Penn Station. This includes the total replacement of 95 feet of ties on track 1 and 1,100 feet of ties on track 4. The condition of the existing wooden ties has deteriorated and will be replaced by concrete ties.
- Portal Bridge – Amtrak crews will perform total timber deck replacement on tracks 2 and 3 on Portal Bridge this summer. This work involves the renewal of more than 500 timbers per track, which will improve current bridge conditions until a new Portal North Bridge is constructed.
- Fair Interlocking in Trenton – Beginning August 5, Amtrak crews will begin extensive timber and switch replacement work at Fair Interlocking, located in Trenton. This includes the total switch replacement for six switches, upgrading all switch machines from air to electric, installing all new electric switch heaters (from propane), and replacing more than 700 ties and 350 switch timbers.
- NJ High Speed Rail Program – Amtrak crews are currently working towards completing catenary upgrades to support improved reliability and capacity for Amtrak and NJ Transit trains and the upcoming next-generation Acela fleet, which will enter service in 2021. This includes equipment removal, replacement, and new installation of constant tension catenary for all four tracks between County (in New Brunswick) and Midway (in Monmouth Junction/South Brunswick) Interlockings and between Midway and CP Clark (in West Windsor), and between CP Clark and Ham (in Trenton). Benefits include facilitating increasing speeds and improved reliability of the aging infrastructure.
This comes on the heels of a February announcement, where Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT renewed their commitment to each other and the traveling public after the finalizing of financial arrangements that pave the way to ongoing and future improvements to the infrastructure, customer experience, and safety of our collective customers.