Monday, March 04, 2013

Vermont rail speeds to increase, state says

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The Vermont Agency of Transportation says speed limits will be raised on New England Central trackage from 59 mph to 79 mph beginning March 11, improving conditions for both freight rail movement and Amtrak's Vermonter.

Amtrak's Vermonter will run at 59 mph from St. Albans to White River Junction, and 79 mph south of there to the Massachusetts border, the agency says. Massachusetts and Connecticut are advancing improvement plans for their portions of the Vermonter route, known there as the Knowledge Corridor.

Speeds originally were expected to be raised March 1, according to the Vermont Rail Action Network, an advocacy group. On its website, the group notes, "It will take another year or so for the rewly reconstructed line in Massachusetts to open, eliminating the Palmer backup move and removing another 30 minutes or more from the timing. Further speed increases are coming on the Connecticut portion of the line by 2016.

"I can say with confidence, having watched this at close range, that this was a project done without waste that will bring real results—not only in a faster Amtrak train, but in the economic benefits of 286,000-pound freight," Vermont Rail Action Network Executive Director Christopher Parker said Monday to Railway Age.

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