Tuesday, October 02, 2012

"Knowledge Corridor” HrSR funds released

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The Department of Transportation and Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Monday announced $120.9 million had been released by the Federal Railroad Administration to upgrade Amtrak's New Haven-Springfield (Mass.) route, part of the New England "Knowledge Corridor."

The New Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) Rail Program will add $141.9 million in Connecticut state funding to bolster the third of three FRA grants for the NHHS segment. A total of $190.9 million in federal funding is involved in the $365.6 million project, designed to add track capacity and increase speeds to 110 mph.

The NHHS segment is the southern portion of the full Knowledge Corridor, which runs north of Springfield to St. Albans, Vt. Separate but complementary efforts are under way to extend the route to Montreal, including the restoration of Amtrak's Montrealer.

Said Malloy, "Achieving this milestone means we can complete the design and construction of new track, signal and communication systems, bridge, and station infrastructure improvements between New Haven and Hartford [Conn.] and provide an economic boon for the region." Malloy added that Connecticut's state contribution to the route reflects the Nutmeg State's support not just for New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail service but also for Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, which runs along the Connecticut coastline.

"Once completed, there will be 17 round trip trains traveling between New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts each day," said Deputy U.S. Transportation Secretary John Porcari. "The improvements in Connecticut will simplify routes for travelers throughout the Northeast Corridor, while building on President Obama's vision of making rail attractive and competitive in the region."

Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner James P. Redeker said that the NHHS Rail Program "will increase the safety, frequency and speed of intercity service along the 62-mile corridor and enhance regional rail connections," noting that the number of trains will increase from the current 12 per day today to 34 by 2016. Trains will reach speeds of up to 110 mph and travel times will be reduced significantly, he said.

Redeker said the installation of underground communication cable would begin later this month., marking the initial construction effort. Double-tracking of the segment, now largely single track, is slated for completion by the end of 2016.

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