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Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester announce completion of Amtrak’s third track in Wilmington

Delaware News Desk
Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, all D-Delaware, joined representatives from Amtrak and SEPTA to announce a recently completed $71.2 million project to increase capacity between Wilmington and Newark on the Northeast Corridor.

Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, all D-Delaware, joined representatives from Amtrak and SEPTA to announce a recently completed $71.2 million project to increase capacity between Wilmington and Newark on the Northeast Corridor. 

This joint project with the Delaware Department of Transportation and the Delaware Transit Corporation includes installation of 1.5 miles of a new, electrified main line third track between Ragan and Yard interlockings and a bridge replacement, and eliminates a previous two-track bottleneck. The change brings improved safety, on-time performance and a reduction in delays.

“This project is nearly 20 years in the making, and I am thrilled that we are finally going to reap the benefits of improved, more reliable rail service along the Northeast Corridor,” said Carper, ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee and a frequent Amtrak rider. “We must continue to improve our nation’s transportation infrastructure in a way that promotes multi-modal transportation and takes cars off the road, for the sake of safety, congestion and our environment. This project is a great example of a good public investment that benefits passengers, drivers, the air we breathe and promotes improvements to rail service in the future.”

“This year started as one of the best for Amtrak, and while ridership is down, the completion of this project and removal of a significant bottleneck will mean more commuter and intercity trains can use the Northeast Corridor and increase the potential volume of rail service through Delaware,” said Coons. “Our transportation system and passenger rail network desperately need additional investment and a focus on building the infrastructure we deserve. This project is an example of how we can make much-needed infrastructure upgrades, and I am grateful for the investments Amtrak has made in Delaware along with the federal government and state to make this project possible.”

“As a regular Amtrak rider myself, I know the importance of a reliable and consistent Northeast corridor,” said Blunt Rochester. “Delawareans have come to rely on Amtrak and SEPTA as a primary transportation option, whether for work or for leisure, and this project to help reduce delays and improve on-time performance will help continue to bolster rail travel in the First State. I want to commend all of the hard work done by DelDOT and the Delaware Transit Corporation to make this project possible.”

“The completion of this project marks an important rail capacity expansion milestone on the Northeast Corridor, resolving bottlenecks which previously constrained SEPTA and Amtrak from operating service at maximum capacity,” said Bill Flynn, CEO of Amtrak. “As we anticipate the return of pre-COVID-19 ridership growth, it is vital that we have the proper infrastructure in place to support a higher capacity railroad.”

The project developed as a shared benefit investment as part of a 2011 agreement between DTC and Amtrak and was funded using Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Federal Highway Administration grants issued to DTC along with Amtrak funds.

In addition to the successful completion of this important project, Amtrak continues to invest in its infrastructure and this year has installed more than 69,000 new railroad ties, more than 30 miles of new continuous welded rail and completed more than 220 track miles of track surfacing on its owned and maintained lines in the Northeast Corridor and Michigan, aimed at ensuring a smoother and safe ride for customers.