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Amtrak seeks $1.3 billion to meet need for speed

(The following appeared on the Philadelphia Inquirer website on April 4, 2011.)

PHILADELPHIA — Amtrak is seeking $1.3 billion in federal funds for major improvements to the heavily traveled Northeast rail corridor, including $450 million to make Philadelphia-to-New-York trains the fastest in the country, Amtrak said Monday.

A recent decision by the new governor of Florida to reject federal money for high-speed rail development there made it possible for Amtrak to seek the high-speed-rail funding.

The $450 million sought for the Philadelphia-New York stretch would pay for signal and track upgrades, improved power substations and overhead wire systems to increase capacity and boost speeds between Morrisville and New Brunswick.

The changes would allow Amtrak to increase service between New York and Philadelphia and increase the speed of trains on part of the route to 160 miles per hour. The current top speed there is now 135 miles an hour.

The work is slated to be finished by September 2017, if Federal Railroad Administration approves the funding, Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm said Monday.

The full story is on the Philadelphia Inquirer website.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

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