NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The federal government has taken its first step toward increasing the speed of trains along the Northeast Corridor, the nation's busiest passenger rail line.
The federal government announced plans to pour $450 million into upgrading the infrastructure that connects two of New Jersey's most important cities: New Brunswick and Trenton.
According to officials, commuters will benefit from the renovations, as the upgrades expand capacity and increase reliability. An added benefit will also be the creation of jobs for residents who are hired to work on the project.
The Northeast Corridor is Amtrak's flagship line, coursing from Boston to Washington, DC, and connecting New Brunswick to other major cities like New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Wilmington, Delaware.
The tracks and power lines sorely need maintenance, and the 23 mile run from new Brunswick to Trenton will be the first segment on the line to receive the upgrade, which will enable commercial service at speeds of 160 miles per hour.
The government intends to finish its upgrades to the New Brunswick to Trenton segment by 2017 and speed up the trains by 2023.
Billions more in funding would be needed if the whole route is to be upgraded.
One bottleneck in particular has proven to be problematic, as NJ Governor Chris Christie cancelled plans for new underwater tunnels to connect New York and New Jersey.
Currently, all Northeast Corridor trains are forced to take turns using a pair of century-old tunnels to cross the Hudson River, which limits capacity and can often lead to delays.