NEW YORK (AP/CBSNewYork) – The federal Department of Transportation announced Monday that $745 million would be going toward rail projects that will allow trains to travel up to 160 mph in some sections of the Northeast Corridor and to construction that will allow Amtrak trains to avoid a congested rail junction in part of New York City.

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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the projects would create 12,000 jobs over the span of construction.

“These grants are a win for our economy and a win for commuters all along the Northeast Corridor,” LaHood said. “We are creating new construction jobs, ordering American-made supplies and improving transportation opportunities across a region where 50 million Americans live and work.”

About $450 million will be used to upgrade electrical systems and tracks between Trenton, N.J., and New York. The upgrade means Acela Express trains will be able to achieve a top speed of 160 mph on 24 miles of track between Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J. The current top speed is 135 mph. When Amtrak puts the next generation of high-speed trains into service, top speed will reach 186 mph, the DOT said.

About $295 million will be used to construct an overpass at the Harold Interlocking rail junction in Queens, which the DOT said was the busiest passenger rail junction in the country. The overpass will separate Amtrak trains going between New York and Boston from Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North commuter trains and from New Jersey Transit trains using the Sunnyside Maintenance Yard in Queens. The separation of trains should ease congestion.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports: Upgrading The Northeast Corridor

“Currently, the situation is somewhat of a tangle and the funds are intended to alleviate that problem,” Jeffrey Zupan of the Regional Plan Association told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

The DOT said pre-construction on the track project between Trenton and New York would start in late 2011 and initial construction would start in 2012. Construction on the overpass project is scheduled to begin in September 2012.

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Comments (3)
  1. vy says:

    Jerry, the LIRR connection to Grand Central will split off in the area of Harold interlocking, but those tracks will be sunk into ramps going down to the new tunnels that connect the LIRR to Grand Central.
    The Amtrak (and future New Haven Metro North) trains primarily use the South Tubes under the East River, but the tracks that leed Amtrak trains to the Bronx, CT, and towards Boston are on the North side of the Harold interlocking.
    Creating a bridge so those Boston-NY Amtrak trains can fly over the treacks leeding to the LIRR and the Sunnyside Storage Yard will releave a lot of congestion, and increase train speeds for all the railroads (Amtrak, LIRR and NJ Transit).

  2. iggy says:

    it won’t go through if the republikans have anything to with the funding

  3. Jerry_Leigh says:

    Isn’t that the same Harold Interlocking rail junction that the LIRR connection to Grand Central is also being constructed to bypass? So now we have an LIRR bypass, an Amtrak bypass, and Harold interlocking. Maybe someone should give a grant to replace the whole thing, once and for all, instead of all these workarounds, which probably end up costing as much and probably give the tower operators even bigger headaches. And what are “Metro North .commuter trains” doing there?

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