B&P Tunnel Replacement Program
The Frederick Douglass Tunnel is the centerpiece of the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program. The two new tubes, serving MARC and Amtrak customers, will be named in honor of Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass was a Maryland native and an early leader in the fight for the rights of women and minorities. He was also a frequent railroad passenger after escaping to his freedom by boarding a train in Baltimore.
The Existing B&P Tunnel
The B&P Tunnel, located in Baltimore, dates from the Civil War era. At nearly 150 years old, it is the oldest tunnel Amtrak inherited and a single point of failure for MARC’s busiest line (the Penn Line) and the Northeast Corridor (NEC). The 1.4-mile tunnel, connecting Baltimore’s Penn Station to Washington and Virginia, suffers from a variety of age-related issues such as excessive water infiltration, a deteriorating structure, and a sinking floor. There are no fire and life safety systems that help keep passengers safe in the event of emergencies, and excessive costly maintenance is required. Due to its age, delays are chronic — more than 10% of weekday trains are delayed, and delays occur on 99% of weekdays. The B&P Tunnel must be replaced to meet the needs of the 9 million MARC and Amtrak customers who rely on it annually.
The B&P Tunnel Replacement Program
The B&P Tunnel Replacement Program (the Program) will modernize and transform a four-mile section of the Northeast Corridor. It includes two new high-capacity tubes for electrified passenger trains, new roadway and railroad bridges, new rail systems and track, and a new ADA-accessible West Baltimore MARC station.
For additional information about the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New Alignment
This map illustrates the location of the existing B&P Tunnel and the new alignment.
Promoting a More Sustainable Future with Electrified Trains
The two new Frederick Douglass Tunnel tubes built today will serve only electrified MARC and Amtrak trains. In order to achieve this, MARC will electrify its Penn Line trains, and diesel freight trains will not be permitted in the two new tunnel tubes.
The program will also include solar power generation at multiple locations, making the Northeast Corridor even greener.
Enabling Baltimore to Washington in Under 30 Minutes
After the program is complete, MARC express trains could travel between Baltimore and Washington in under 30 minutes.
Creating Accessibility for All with a New ADA-Accessible West Baltimore MARC Station
The Program will create a new and improved West Baltimore MARC Station, with elevators and other enhancements to make it accessible to people with mobility impairments. With this new station, all MARC Penn Line stations between Washington and Baltimore will be ADA-compliant.
Eliminating the Largest NEC Bottleneck Between Washington and New Jersey
The program will transform this segment of the Northeast Corridor, significantly improving speed, capacity, and reliability for MARC and Amtrak trains at the largest rail bottleneck between Washington and New Jersey. Instead of 30 mph, trains will be capable of traveling over 100 mph.
When the Program is complete, these improvements will eliminate nearly seven hours of train delay for the average weekday.
Making Travel Safer
The new Frederick Douglass Tunnel will include modern fire and life safety systems, including emergency egress pathways and ventilation systems that help keep passengers safe in the event of emergencies.
Investing in People and the Community
The program will include a strong workforce development program. It will generate approximately 30,000 jobs, including approximately 20,000 direct (construction) jobs, spread over the course of construction.
The program also includes more than $50 million for community investments in West Baltimore. Examples of investments include community development grants to non-profits, park improvements, community gardens, art, streetscape improvements, and enhancements for bicycles and pedestrians.
The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the B&P Tunnel Project. In making its decision, FRA considered the information and analysis included in the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements (DEIS & FEIS) for the project and public and agency comments.
FRA has prepared this ROD in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq.), the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) NEPA Regulations (40 C.F.R. Parts 1500-1508), the FRA Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (64 Federal Register 28545 [May 26, 1999]), and FRA’s Update to NEPA Implementing Procedures (78 Federal Register Part 2713 [January 14, 2013]).
Biden's infrastructure plan could make B&P Tunnel replacement a reality
Baltimore Business Journal
April 1, 2021
Amtrak could be comeback player of the year in 2021
The Baltimore Sun
January 4, 2021
Could Maryland finally be ready to replace Baltimore’s oldest rail tunnel?
Greater Greater Washington
June 24, 2020
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