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Amtrak Advances Innovative B&P Tunnel Replacement Program Procurements

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Amtrak

Amtrak announces new Delivery Partner model; Charts path for additional work

BALTIMORE – In a major step forward for the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program, Amtrak will be seeking a Delivery Partner to support the successful execution of the project to replace the nearly 150-year-old tunnel. In a Delivery Partner model, the private partner takes on substantial risk-sharing, impacting overall project outcomes. More than two dozen industry leaders responded to Amtrak’s recent Request for Information (RFI), which invited feedback on use of the Delivery Partner model.

“Amtrak received strong industry response to the Delivery Partner RFI, demonstrating a significant appetite for a private partner with ‘skin in the game’ to ensure a successful project delivery,” said Amtrak’s Vice President, Program Development & Project Services, Tony Ryan. “Timely advancement of this program is critical as we work to modernize and transform the Northeast Corridor, reducing delays and adding capacity for the future.”

Solicitation for the Delivery Partner is expected to launch in January 2023. The Delivery Partner engagement complements the construction manager at risk (CMAR) for the first phase of the Program, the Southern Approach, which is already in the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage of procurement. The Southern Approach CMAR solicitation includes:

  • the new ADA-compliant West Baltimore MARC Station
  • all major excavation for the approach to the south portal for the new tunnel and bridge construction
  • some utility and roadway work

This CMAR procurement represents the first major project procurement since Amtrak was awarded the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funding. This is Amtrak’s first use of the CMAR alternate delivery method, which will improve project delivery time and allow design, pre-construction and pricing work to proceed simultaneously. Collaboration on the design offers an opportunity for innovation and reduces the risk to Amtrak for substantial changes to the scope of work later.

In partnership with the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA), the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program will replace the existing B&P Tunnel with the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel, named for the Maryland native and renowned civil rights leader. As part of the larger strategy to increase capacity and reliability on the Northeast Corridor, the existing B&P Tunnel will be dedicated to freight service, and the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel will be focused solely on passenger service.

Once complete, the new tunnel system will improve travel times for approximately nine million passengers each year who rely on the Northeast Corridor for service, including Amtrak AcelaNortheast Regional, and long-distance trains, as well as the MARC Penn Line.

Future construction packages for the Program will be announced in 2023. This will include one tunnel package for the twin bore tunnel construction work, featuring two parallel tunnels, each containing a single rail track.

Source: Amtrak

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Putting Jobs First: California High-Speed Rail Crosses 13,000 Construction Jobs Milestone

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California High-Speed Rail construction site with workers in hardhats.
Artistic rendering of a CAHSR high-speed train running in the Central Valley. California High-Speed Rail.

In a significant milestone for the nation’s first high-speed rail project, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) announced that it has successfully created over 13,000 construction jobs since 2015. This accomplishment not only signifies progress for the ambitious high-speed rail system but also highlights the positive impact it has had on the local Californian workforce.

California High-Speed Rail Crosses 13,000 Construction Jobs Milestone

Central Valley Takes the Lead:
With over 70 percent of these jobs going to residents of California’s Central Valley, the project has played a vital role in providing employment opportunities for individuals in the region. It is worth acknowledging the efforts of nearly 1,400 workers dispatched each day to various high-speed rail construction sites. These jobs have injected economic vitality and growth into communities across the Central Valley.

Regional Breakdown:

  1. Fresno County: 4,222 jobs
  2. Kern County: 2,538 jobs
  3. Tulare County: 1,282 jobs
  4. Madera County: 580 jobs
  5. Kings County: 462 jobs
  6. Merced County: 189 jobs
  7. Remaining California Counties: 3,387 jobs
  8. Out-of-State: 369 jobs

A Decade of Strong Partnerships:
The Authority has had a longstanding partnership with the California State Building Trades, which has facilitated the creation of thousands of good-paying union jobs. Notably, during the past five years alone, over 10,000 construction positions have been generated through these collaborative efforts. Moreover, a significant focus has been placed on directing employment opportunities towards individuals from disadvantaged communities, further promoting inclusivity and economic upliftment.

California Jobs First Council:
To bolster job creation even further and ensure economic prosperity for all Californians, the California Jobs First Council was established. This council aims to align economic resources, expedite job creation, and enhance opportunities throughout the state. With particular focus on the Central San Joaquin Valley, this initiative serves as an impetus for creating more jobs, rapidly, in every community.

Future Expansion and Construction Progress:
Looking ahead, the Authority is resolute in extending the current 119-mile high-speed rail network to span 171 miles, reaching from Merced to Bakersfield. The construction has already commenced on this expansion project. Presently, more than 25 dynamic construction sites are active within the Central Valley. As a testament to its commitment to environmental stewardship, the Authority has obtained full environmental clearance for 422 miles of the high-speed rail program, stretching from the Bay Area to Los Angeles County.

Stay Updated:
For the latest developments and information about the high-speed rail construction, interested individuals are encouraged to visit the official website: www.buildhsr.com. On the website, visitors can access recent videos, animations, photographs, press center resources, and the latest renderings of the project. All files are available for free use, courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s achievement of surpassing 13,000 construction jobs is undoubtedly a cause for celebration. By focusing on job creation and prioritizing the local workforce, this landmark project is making a positive difference in the lives of Californians, particularly those in the Central Valley. With continued progress and future expansions, the California High-Speed Rail project not only brings efficient transportation but also provides a substantial economic boost that benefits communities and individuals alike.

https://hsr.ca.gov/2024/03/19/putting-jobs-first-california-high-speed-rail-crosses-13000-construction-jobs-milestone/

Source: California High-Speed Rail Authority

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13k+ jobs created! 🚄 California High-Speed Rail breaking records and boosting the economy! jobs infrastructure https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/urbanism/

♬ original sound – STMDailyNews – STMDailyNews

What is California High-Speed Rail?

The California High-Speed Rail (CAHSR) is a state-funded project led by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Currently under construction, Phase 1 is planned to cover 494 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles, passing through the Central Valley. There are plans for Phase 2, which would extend the system to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 776 miles. Authorized by a 2008 ballot, this ambitious project aims to connect major urban areas, significantly reducing travel times. The goal for Phase 1 is to achieve a travel time of 2 hours and 40 minutes between San Francisco and Los Angeles, a vast improvement from the existing Amtrak service, which takes around nine hours.

Construction of Phase 1 began in the Central Valley back in 2015. The project is being built in sections due to limited funding. The state aims to complete a 171-mile (275 km) long Initial Operating Segment (IOS) connecting Merced and Bakersfield by 2024. The IOS is expected to begin its revenue service as a self-contained high-speed rail system between 2030-2033, at an estimated cost of $28–35 billion. CAHSR trains running along this section would be the fastest in the Americas, with a top speed of 220 mph (350 km/h).

Between January 2015 and December 2023, a whopping amount of $11.2 billion was spent on the IOS project, which includes 119 miles (192 km) currently under construction, alongside upgrades to the existing rail lines in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles. The plan is that Phase 1 will share tracks with conventional passenger trains. However, the Authority has not yet secured funding to connect the Central Valley section with either the Bay Area or Los Angeles, which involves crossing several major mountain passes. As of 2024, it is estimated that Phase 1 will cost a total of $106.2 billion.n.

Supporters of the California High-Speed Rail project emphasize the potential benefits it offers, including the reduction of air traffic and highway congestion, decreased pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and the promotion of economic growth by connecting inland regions to coastal cities. However, opponents argue that the project is too expensive and advocate for directing funds to other transportation or infrastructure initiatives. The choice of route and the decision to initiate construction in the Central Valley, rather than more densely populated areas, have been points of contention. The project has encountered notable challenges such as delays and cost overruns due to management issues, legal disputes, and a lack of complete funding commitment.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_High-Speed_Rail#

https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/urbanism/

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  • Rod Washington

    Rod: A creative force, blending words, images, and flavors. Blogger, writer, filmmaker, and photographer. Cooking enthusiast with a sci-fi vision. Passionate about his upcoming series and dedicated to TNC Network. Partnered with Rebecca Washington for a shared journey of love and art.

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Riding the Rails to a Sustainable Future: The Rise of High-Speed Rail in the U.S.

High-speed rail in the U.S. offers a sustainable, faster, and comfortable alternative to flying and driving, significantly reducing carbon emissions.

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"High-speed rail in the U.S. offers a sustainable, faster, and comfortable alternative to flying and driving, significantly reducing carbon emissions."
Acela and Metro-North commuter trains share the same tracks through Connecticut.

In a world where environmental sustainability and efficient transportation are becoming increasingly critical, the United States is making strides towards a faster and greener future with the expansion of high-speed rail networks. While the U.S. may have lagged behind other countries in this area, promising developments such as the Brightline West project in the Southwest, the Texas line connecting major cities, and the Northwest corridor linking bustling urban centers are paving the way for a new era of travel.

High-speed rail presents a compelling alternative to traditional modes of transportation. With trains reaching speeds of up to 200 mph, these systems offer a comfortable, cost-effective, and time-efficient way to travel. Compared to flying, high-speed rail eliminates the hassles of airport security checks and long wait times, while surpassing the speed of driving without the stress of being behind the wheel. Passengers can unwind, be productive, or simply enjoy the journey, making it a holistic travel experience.

Beyond the convenience and comfort it offers, high-speed rail holds immense promise in reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change. The potential environmental impact of projects like the Brightline West is staggering, with estimates suggesting that millions of cars could be taken off the road, significantly curbing carbon pollution. Given the alarming statistics on the environmental cost of traditional transportation, transitioning to high-speed rail is a crucial step towards mitigating the harmful effects of climate change.

The urgency of addressing climate change cannot be overstated. The emissions released from burning fossil fuels are driving global warming at an alarming rate, leading to catastrophic consequences such as extreme weather events and environmental degradation. By opting for public transportation like high-speed rail, individuals can contribute to cooling down the planet and reducing their carbon footprint. Additionally, embracing sustainable modes of travel such as walking and biking not only promotes environmental conservation but also enhances personal health and well-being.

As the U.S. accelerates its efforts to embrace high-speed rail and other eco-friendly transportation options, we are moving closer to a future where sustainability and efficiency go hand in hand. By choosing to ride the rails, we are not only embarking on exciting journeys but also taking meaningful steps towards a cleaner, greener planet for generations to come.

If you are interested about high speed rail in America, check out these articles:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acela

https://www.hsr.ca.gov/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brightline

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_the_United_States

https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/urbanism/

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  • Rod Washington

    Rod: A creative force, blending words, images, and flavors. Blogger, writer, filmmaker, and photographer. Cooking enthusiast with a sci-fi vision. Passionate about his upcoming series and dedicated to TNC Network. Partnered with Rebecca Washington for a shared journey of love and art.

    View all posts

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Progress and Setbacks: Amtrak’s Journey Towards High-Speed Trains in the Northeast Corridor

After years of delays and setbacks, Amtrak is nearing the introduction of new high-speed trains in the Northeast Corridor, promising faster travel.

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2nd test run of Pre-production Acela II on the PH Line. Amtrak has full rights to this image. New Acela 21 in Testing

After years of challenges and setbacks, Amtrak is edging closer to introducing new high-speed trains to the bustling Northeast Corridor. Following a series of delays and rigorous safety and design disputes, the new trains have finally received clearance from the Federal Railroad Administration to commence track testing along the route from Washington, D.C., to Boston.

The Avelia Liberty trains, with a price tag of about $1.6 billion, are set to replace the aging Acela fleet. Promising a maximum speed of 160 miles per hour and increased passenger capacity, these sleek red, white, and blue trains are expected to offer a faster and smoother ride, featuring enhanced tilt technology for navigating curves.

However, the project has been plagued by setbacks, with the trains now three years behind schedule. Despite initial hopes for a 2024 launch, the exact date for passenger service remains uncertain. The challenges have included issues with computer modeling, delays in train delivery, and the need for significant repairs and upgrades to the Northeast Corridor tracks.

Amid these challenges, Amtrak has spent over $48 million on maintaining the outdated Acela trains. The journey towards high-speed rail in the Northeast has been a bumpy one, marked by unanticipated obstacles and contractual oversights. Nevertheless, as Amtrak and Alstom move forward with on-track testing, stakeholders are hopeful that the identified problems will pave the way for a smoother testing phase and eventual passenger service.

As the saga continues, the industry will keenly observe how these new trains perform on the Northeast Corridor, with a collective hope that this technological leap will ultimately redefine travel on one of America’s busiest rail corridors.

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  • Rod Washington

    Rod: A creative force, blending words, images, and flavors. Blogger, writer, filmmaker, and photographer. Cooking enthusiast with a sci-fi vision. Passionate about his upcoming series and dedicated to TNC Network. Partnered with Rebecca Washington for a shared journey of love and art.

    View all posts

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