High-speed trains can create additional capacity for passengers to accommodate growth in population and commerce and can divert a large share of passenger rail service to new, dedicated tracks, thus freeing up capacity on the existing corridor for other users.
High-speed trains typically operate at higher frequencies than conventional rail, and have fewer delays and better on-time performance than auto and air modes.
High-speed trains can create travel time savings for those who would have used a different mode between urban centers. It improves overall access to intercity destinations and brings distant regional locations closer together.
The 457-mile Northeast Corridor, stretching from Boston to Washington, D.C. and serving Amtrak, commuter and freight trains, traverses eight states and the District of Columbia. Carrying over 2,000 daily trains, the Notheast Corridor is among the nation’s most congested rail corridors and one of the highest volume rail corridors in the world. Service reliability, on-time performance, and opportunities for expansion have been negatively impacted by a lack of capacity along many stretches, especially where its operations overlap with regional commuter traffic.
In May 2010, Amtrak released the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan. The plan resulted from a precedent-setting regional collaboration among the twelve Northeast states and District of Columbia, Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration, eight commuter and three freight railroads. The Master Plan led to a realization that capacity could not be met by improvements to the existing corridor alone. As a result, in September 2010, Amtrak released A Vision for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor, which presented the bold concept of a new 423-mile dedicated two-track high-speed rail alignment from Washington, D.C. to Boston, MA to increase corridor capacity, improve service reliability and reduce travel times for all rail users.
Since the release of the Master Plan and Vision documents, Amtrak has begun to more clearly define the steps needed to advance an integrated planning initiative to develop a strategy for delivering such a large and complex program. While the program concepts will continue to evolve with stakeholder feedback and input from parallel planning initiatives, Amtrak is committed to maintaining, developing and ensuring the future of the Northeast Corridor.
During the UIC 8th World Congress on High-Speed Rail from July 9 through 13, Amtrak released an update to its ongoing planning work for the future Northeast Corridor. For more information on High-Speed Rail and other Amtrak developments, the following resources are at your fingertips:
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