Friday, October 19, 2012

Delaware NEC third track project commences

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Delaware state and federal representatives, the Delaware Department of Transportation, and Amtrak on Thursday marked the ceremonial start of adding a 1.5-mile third track on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor just south of Wilmington.

The $53 million project, to be completed by 2015, will increase passenger rail capacity between Ragan and Brandy interlockings, currently a choke point in NEC operations. Amtrak and SEPTA operate over the stretch, as does some local freight traffic.

"Were focused up and down the Northeast Corridor trying to solve these bottle necks that keep us from running as many trains as we could and meeting the demand for additional commuter service and additional passenger rail," said Steven Gardener, vice president of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Investment Development. "So every one we knock off is a small victory for us and building toward a higher capacity railroad that we think the region is going to need."

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said the NEC is vital to business growth, and noted the additional capacity also will help the Bloom Energy factory and the University of Delaware STAR campus at the former Chrysler plant in Newark, Del.