Amtrak

New York MTA’s Metro-North Penn Station Access Project would bring MTA Metro-North commuter rail service to Penn Station and Manhattan’s west side, along Amtrak’s Hell Gate Line on the Northeast Corridor (artist’s rendering shown).

Transit Briefs: Brightline, NYMTA, OCTA, SacRT, SCVTA

Ahead of service to Orlando, train testing of up to 110 mph continues for Brightline, Florida’s private-sector passenger railroad. Also, New York MTA’s Metro-North Penn Station Access Project faces delays; Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Metrolink unveil track and station improvements in Anaheim, Calif.; Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) in California begins station modifications to accommodate new LRVs from Siemens Mobility; and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (SCVTA) offers limited-edition trading cards.

The Gateway Program will eventually double rail capacity between Newark, N.J., and New York. (GDC)

Biden Announces Investment in ‘Mega Projects’

President Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Jan. 31 announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has awarded nearly $1.2 billion from the new National Infrastructure Project Assistance (Mega) discretionary grant program to

VIA Seeks New L-D Rolling Stock

VIA Rail Canada announced Jan. 27 that it intends to renew its existing long-distance (L-D, regional and remote-territory fleet and has issued a formal Request for Information (RFI) for a supplier to “design, manufacture, test, supply, deliver and commission cars and motive power and ancillary equipment (onboard and offboard) with a prescribed capacity of car types (coaches, sleepers, diners, multi-purpose, baggage)” through the open competitive procurement process known as the “Long Distance Regional and Remote Fleet Renewal Project.”

President Biden on Jan. 30 helped kicked off the project to replace the 150-year-old Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel, addressing the largest rail bottleneck between Washington, D.C., and New Jersey. (Photograph Courtesy of FRA, via Twitter)
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Biden Kicks Off Baltimore Rail Tunnel Replacement

President Joe Biden traveled to Baltimore, Md., on Jan. 30 to join Amtrak, U.S. Department of Transportation and the state of Maryland to kick off the Baltimore and Potomac (B&P) Tunnel replacement

Amtrak Eyes STB Investigation Into ‘Substandard’ Sunset Limited Service

Amtrak in December called on the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to initiate an investigation into “substandard” customer on-time performance for Sunset Limited service between Louisiana and California. Host freight railroad Union Pacific (UP)—which Amtrak said will likely be the prime focus of the investigation—asked the STB on Jan. 27 to order mediation for Amtrak, UP and the other host railroads involved “to resolve or narrow the issues in dispute.”

Rendering Courtesy of Penn Station Partners

Transit Briefs: Amtrak, LA Metro

Amtrak’s contracted Penn Station Partners have released renderings of the planned expansion of Baltimore Penn Station. Also, LA Metro selects Anser Advisory to oversee the development of the Sepulveda Transit Corridor (STC).

Transit Briefs: Metrolinx, SEPTA, Northern Lights Express

Local transit systems join Metrolinx’s GO Transit in accepting credit card taps to pay transit fees. Also, countdown clocks are coming to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) platforms this spring; and Minnesota legislators propose $99 million to kick-start the Northern Lights Express (NLX), which would connect downtown Minneapolis to the St. Louis County in Duluth.

California Zephyr (Photo Courtesy of Amtrak)

Amtrak Takes First Step to Re-Equip Long-Distance Network

Amtrak has announced that 10 manufacturers have submitted their ideas on replacement railcars for such overnight routes as Auto Train, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder and Southwest Chief, marking the “first formal step to completely reequip the Amtrak Long-Distance Network that provides vital service on 14 overnight routes from coast to coast,” the railroad reported Jan. 19.

The $47 million Newport News Transportation Center (rendering above) is slated to open in late 2023. Partnering on the project are the city of Newport News, Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, and Virginia Department of Transportation.

Virginia Advances Passenger Rail Expansion Plans

Virginia’s New River Valley Passenger Rail Service Extension and Newport News Transportation Center projects will receive a combined $3.2 million in federal funding to move forward, the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) reported on Jan. 17.