Pictured from left to right: Amtrak President Stephen Gardner, Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) recently celebrated the completion of a 1.5-mile main line third track as part of a NEC capacity improvement project in Delaware.

Amtrak, Delaware Complete $71.2MM NEC Project

Amtrak, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and the Delaware Transit Corp. (DTC) recently wrapped up a $71.2 million Northeast Corridor (NEC) capacity improvement project between Wilmington and Newark, Del. It included installation of a 1.5-mile main line third track between Ragan and Yard interlockings as well as bridge replacement and other work.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit, along with agencies in Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Utah, will deploy technologies that “assess, detect, monitor and track deficiencies related to infrastructure” and evaluate the technologies’ “cost-effectiveness and practicality,” according to FTA.

FTA Awards $1.37MM for Asset Management Projects

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is distributing $1.37 million in grants among six transit agencies for projects that demonstrate and evaluate innovative technologies to maintain a state of good repair.

The signal system upgrades between Paoli and Overbrook, along the Harrisburg, Pa., (Keystone) Line, will “significantly improve service reliability,” SEPTA General Manager Leslie S. Richards said.

SEPTA, Amtrak, PennDOT to Improve Signaling on Harrisburg Line

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), in conjunction with Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), will upgrade the signaling and train control system between Paoli and Overbrook, along the Harrisburg, Pa., (Keystone) Line, an extension of the Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak service will see improvements under three multi-million dollar projects along the Northeast Corridor. FRA grants will help fund replacements of the Norwalk River Bridge and Connecticut River Bridge in Connecticut and upgrades to the Trenton Transit Center in New Jersey.

California, Connecticut, New Jersey Win $172.1MM in SOGR Grants

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded grants to California’s North County Transit District (NCTD; $9.8 million), the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and Amtrak ($144 million), and New Jersey Transit ($18.3 million) under the FY 2020 Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair program.

Pennsylvania has made “enormous” investments in the Keystone East Line without managerial control, said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.), whose new legislation would allow the Commonwealth “to provide greater local control, accountability, and expand ridership opportunities.”

Will Ownership of Amtrak’s Keystone East Line Transfer to Pennsylvania?

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.) has introduced legislation requiring a transfer of ownership of Amtrak’s Keystone East Line and some of its 12 stations to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Under the Keystone Line for the Commonwealth Act, the line between Harrisburg, Pa., and Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station would be managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

FTA: 25 HOPE Projects to Share $8.5MM

The Federal Transit Administration is awarding 25 projects in 17 states a share of approximately $8.5 million in funding through the Helping Obtain Prosperity for Everyone (HOPE) program.

SEPTA Shuts Down Route 15 Streetcar

For the second time in less than four weeks, a streetcar line in the United States has bitten the dust. This one is Philadelphia’s Route 15, operated by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), and which ran for 8.4 miles along Girard Avenue, an east-west street about one mile north of Market Street.

Leslie S. Richards Next SEPTA GM

In January 2020, current PennDOT Secretary and former Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) board member Leslie S. Richards will replace the retiring Jeffrey D. Knueppel as General Manager of the sixth-largest public transportation agency in the U.S.

SEPTA’s Knueppel Retiring at Year-End: Reports

Philadelphia media is reporting that SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel is retiring from the agency year-end 2019, following a 32-year career.

Thermal Rail Stress and Undergrade Bridges

When consideration is given to track engineering and maintenance, many newcomers to the railroad industry don’t realize what massive amount of effort is put forward to properly manage thermal rail stress by track engineering and track maintenance professionals. A concept even more difficult to grasp is the relationship of thermal rail stress to undergrade bridges.