Infrastructure upgrades, PTC and new rolling stock on Amtrak’s 2010 agenda

From Progressive Railroading Daily News

With major projects and new initiatives on tap to rebuild infrastructure, increase service and revitalize the nation’s intercity passenger railroad, Amtrak is anticipating “an exciting 2010,” President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman said yesterday during a media conference call.

This year, Amtrak plans to undertake major track and bridge construction projects, replace and expand its locomotive and passenger-car fleets, and advance high-speed rail and positive train control (PTC) initiatives.

Major infrastructure projects include the replacement of the 102-year-old movable bridge over the Niantic River in Connecticut; modernization of transformers and other electrical equipment between Washington, D.C., and New York City; track and switch upgrades at Chicago’s Union Station; and construction of new maintenance buildings for passenger-car equipment in Los Angeles and Hialeah, Fla.

Amtrak also plans to renovate a station in Wilmington, Del.; expand the Auto Train station in Sanford, Fla.; restore locomotives and passenger cars in Beech Grove, Ind., and Bear, Del.; complete a multi-year modernization of catenary wires on the Hell Gate Line in New York; and begin upgrading a Seattle maintenance facility.

In addition, the railroad will advance an “aggressive, self-imposed schedule” to install PTC by the end of 2012 — three years prior to the rail industry’s federally mandated deadline. A “significant amount of design and engineering, and some installation work” will occur this year, said Boardman.

Next month, Amtrak also plans to announce a plan to replace and expand its rolling stock fleet to accommodate anticipated ridership growth. The railroad expects to purchase several hundred single-level and bi-level long-distance cars, and more than 100 locomotives, said Boardman.