New continuously welded track being installed for high-speed trains.
One of the first major projects for the High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program, which is underwritten heavily by Recovery Act money, was recently completed.
Upgrades and repairs to 190 miles of track on Amtrak’s Vermonter line were completed not only on time but also within budget, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced. The project, which received $52.7 million in Recovery funds and $5 million from New England Central Railroad, will result in increased speeds, reduced travel time, greater reliability, and an increased number of trains traveling each day within Vermont, DOT said.
Upgrades included heavier continuously welded rails, repairs to more than 50 bridges, new tie installation, and ballast work. These improvements reduce the scheduled running time by about a half hour; they also increase track weight-capacity from 263,000-pound to 286,000-pound freight cars.
The new rail for the project was produced at Steel Dynamic Inc.’s plant in Columbia City, Indiana.
Map showing planned routes for high speed rail service. (Click for larger image)
DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which oversees the HSIPR program, has partnered with 34 states on 154 projects to build a national high-speed rail system connecting major urban areas. Like the Vermonter project, many involve improving or upgrading existing track and routes. Others involve new construction entirely.
Of the approximately $10 billion in federal money allocated for HSIPR, $8 billion is from the Recovery Act, funding 78 of the 154 total projects. Almost 30 HSIPR-related projects are currently underway. Five, including the Vermonter project, are complete. FRA expects to start another 18 projects within the next six months.
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