by Josephine Cordero Sapién
07 Jan 2021
A fair number of rail projects are currently under construction in the United States. Here’s a quick look at three line extensions that are set to start carrying passengers in 2021:
Phase 1 of the streetcar line (Charlotte Area Transit System) in North Carolina opened in 2015. This initial 1.5mile section with six stops connects the Spectrum Center and the Presbyterian Hospital. Phase 2 extends the line in both directions, from the Spectrum Center to French Street and from the hospital to Sunnyside Avenue. This extension measures 2.5miles in length and is due to open in January / early 2021. Construction on Phase 2 began in 2017.
The final works currently underway are completing the installation of the overhead line equipment and the traffic signals as well as the vehicle and systems testing.
Six Siemens S70 units were ordered, each with a length of 26m. Siemens Mobility has equipped these streetcars with batteries to allow hybrid operations both on and off-wire. Construction took place in Sacramento, California.
Line 1 is a light rail line in Seattle, Washington that is being extended from the University of Washington to Northgate. Construction on the extension began in 2012 and is scheduled to open to passenger service in September 2021. The Northgate Link extension features a twin tunnel from the University of Washington station, via two underground stations – U District and Roosevelt – after which the line will emerge and transition into an elevated guideway to Northgate station.
A further extension to Lynwood is also in the works.
A total of 152 Siemens S700 have been ordered by Sound Transit. The first arrived at Sound Transit’s maintenance facility in June 2019. The plan is for these vehicles to run on the Northgate Link as well as the future Lynwood Link and other extensions to the Eastside and Federal Way.
The Green Line light rail system in the Boston metropolitan area. The Green Line Extension will consist of two branches. The main branch, measuring 3.4miles, will run from Lechmere to Medford. The second branch is 0.9 miles long and will split off just past Lechmere to serve Union Square.
As part of the project, the existing Lechmere station was closed and a new one is being constructed.
24 new Green Line cars were ordered as part of the extension project. The first of these started operating on the line in 2018. The units are low-floor CAF trains manufactured in Spain, with final assembly having taken place in New York State. The full extension is scheduled for opening in December 2021.
Amtrak has contracted Arup to produce the preliminary designs for the upcoming expansion of New York Penn Station.
Amtrak has taken up the option to order a further 50 Charger locomotives from Siemens Mobility as it continues to replace its fleet.
CRRC has delivered the first fully assembled and commissioned 7000-series metro train to the Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA).
Amtrak has launched the procurement phase for the first of three major construction contracts for the B&P Tunnel Replacement Programme.
Metrolink's updated earthquake early warning system (EEW) automatically slows down and stop trains when an earthquake occurs.
Infrastructure improvements made by Amtrak have raised the speed trains can travel in parts of New Jersey.
California High-Speed Rail Authority shares final environmental impact report for the San Francisco-San Jose section of its project.
Union Pacific Railroad has joined RailPulse, becoming the coalition’s seventh member, joining companies such as GATX,TrinityRail and Watco.
Amtrak has committed approximately 130m USD to carry out infrastructure improvements between Washington DC and New York.
California High-Speed Rail Authority has submitted two applications for federal grant funding to help finance its high-speed train project.
The FRA has established a new Corridor Identification and Development (ID) Program to transform the nation's passenger rail network.
Hitachi Rail has launched its latest digital rail products at the 2022 Railway Systems Supplies Inc. Communication & Signalling exhibition.
The California Legislature is being urged to approve 4.2 billion USD in funding for California's High-Speed Rail project.
The first locomotive to carry Amtrak’s new livery is making its inaugural journey across America, travelling from California from Delaware.
Alstom has signed a new contract to provide operations and maintenance services for Dallas Fort Worth International Airport’s APM system.
See pictures of the new Amtrak Acela interiors. The trains are being manufactured by Alstom in Hornell and Rochester, New York.
Hitachi Rail has chosen Washington County, Maryland as the location for its new $70m manufacturing site.
US Congress has passed a $1.5 trillion government funding bill that will provide increased resources to the Federal Railroad Administration.
Amtrak has recognised the Class 1 railroad Canadian Pacific as the best host railroad of 2021, keeping Amtrak passenger services on time.
Improvements to the Twin Cities, La Cross, Milwaukee and Chicago rail corridor have been given the green light thanks to a new federal grant.
A STB hearing has begun into whether Amtrak can operate a passenger rail service between Mobile and New Orleans along America’s Gulf Coast.
NCTD has awarded Siemens Mobility a 12-year maintenance contract for its fleet of Siemens Sprinter DMU vehicles.
Canadian National wants the Surface Transportation Board to order the divestiture of KCS's Springfield Line as part of the CP-KCS merger.
Amit Bose has been confirmed as the 15th Administrator of the United States Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
Amtrak and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) have signed an agreement to support each other’s expansion plans in North America.
Amtrak has announced that CEO Bill Flynn is retiring. Stephen Gardner will consequently be appointed as the company’s President and CEO.
CP has completed its purchase of KCS. This will lead to the creation of the only single-line railway linking the Canada, USA and Mexico.
Progress Rail, BNSF Railway and Chevron have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to demonstrate a hydrogen-powered locomotive.
The US Federal Railroad Administration has issued $198 million in funding to repair intercity passenger railroad infrastructure and assets.
Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern have now received the necessary regulatory approval from Mexican authorities regarding their merger.
The first of three DMUs ordered from Stadler by the SBCTA has now left the manufacturer’s factory in Salt Lake City.
Brightline has begun testing its full operating train schedule between West Palm Beach and Miami in preparation for its return to service.
Hitachi Rail is displaying a series of new products aimed at freight railroads and passenger rail operators at the RSSI C&S Exhibition.
Metrolink will pilot a new technology designed to ensure the safe and rapid slowing and stopping of trains in the event of an earthquake.
Kansas City Southern’s (KCS) Board of Directors has deemed Canadian Pacific’s (CP) proposed merger agreement a ‘company superior proposal’.
Canadian Pacific is back in the running in its desire to merge with Kansas City Southern, following the STB's voting trust ruling for CN-KCS.
The Surface Transportation Board has unanimously decided to reject a voting trust as a mechanism in the proposed CN-KCS merger.
Siemens Mobility's battery hybrid S700 streetcars have entered service in Charlotte, North Carolina. They were ordered in 2016.
California High-Speed Rail Authority has approved the final EIR/EIS for the 80-mile Bakersfield to Palmdale project alignment section.
A new section of the MTA Coney Island Yard Complex is being fortified against extreme weather to make it more resilient to climate change.
Savage is partnering with Kansas City Southern (KCS) to construct a multi-commodity railport in Louisiana.
Renfe has joined the US High Speed Rail Association as a global VIP member, as part of its internationalisation strategy.
Kansas City Southern Board of Directors says the new Canadian Pacific offer is not superior to that made by Canadian National in May.
Canadian Pacific has increased its offer to Kansas City Southern to bring it closer to Canadian National's rival offer.
During a media announcement Brightline President Patrick Goddard confirmed services would resume in the first half of November.
CP has urged KCS shareholders to vote against approving a merger between KCS and CN before the STB decision on a voting trust is made.
California: Metrolink has certified the final environmental impact report for the Simi Valley Double Track project, a SCORE-funded project.
Siemens Mobility has signed a contract with Amtrak to manufacture a fleet of up to 83 multi-powered modern trains.
Alstom has been selected to provide its Cityflo 650 CBTC solution for the Miami-Dade Metromover automated people mover system.
Webuild and US subsidiary Lane Construction have signed the final agreement to build the US’ first true high-speed railway.
Canadian National Railway & Kansas City Southern Railway have filed documents requested by the STB in relation to their merger.
Brightline has passed the halfway mark on construction of its 170-mile track extension from Miami to Orlando.
Kansas City Southern has called Canadian National's acquisition bid superior to that made by Canadian Pacific, but the US DOJ has concerns.
Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn has told a Congressional Committee that America needs high-speed rail links as part of its railway infrastructure.
Canadian Pacific Railway has filed a formal objection with the Surface Transportation Board to the Canadian National Merger Waiver.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has announced 1.69 billion USD in relief funding for Amtrak in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hitachi Rail has joined the US High Speed Rail Association as a VIP Member in light of the Biden Administration's pro-rail stance.
Alstom will work with Long Island Rail Road for an eight-month period to test the feasibility of battery-electric traction on its network.
Canadian National has made a rival bid for Kansas City Southern and has filed a letter with the Surface Transportation Board.
Alstom has won a contract to operate and maintain the Skyway automated people mover system at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston.
Polly Trottenberg has been sworn in as Deputy Transportation Secretary, following her Senate confirmation (82-15) on 14 April 2021.
Almost 260 shippers and railroads have submitted letters of support to the STB for the proposed Canadian Pacific-Kansas City Southern merger.
Us President Biden has laid out his American Jobs Plan that will see more than $600 billion of spending on infrastructure, including rail.
Metra, Chicago's rail operator, has ordered 200 push-pull railcars from Alstom. The board approved a procurement of 500 units in total.
Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern, two Class 1 railroads, have agreed on a merger deal worth 29 billion USD.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has awarded Hitachi a contract for 256 8000-series railcars with options for 544 more.
Following increased demand and with the help of Congressional funding, Amtrak will restore daily services to 12 long-distance services.
The USDOT and DART have agreed a refinancing of a $908 million loan for the Silver Line that will save DART $190 million in interest payments.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has issued its revised draft business plan, which will go to the California Legislature in April.
The US Senate has confirmed Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation in the Biden Administration, with 83 votes in favour, 13 against.
Amtrak Midwest has been testing the new Siemens Mobility Venture railcars, which are being manufactured in Sacramento, California.
Amtrak's CEO has written to Congress outlining the passenger railroad's five key demands to recover from COVID and expand services.
BNSF and Wabtec are testing a battery-electric locomotive between Barstow and Stockton (CA) to test the viability of battery technology.
Colorado Pacific Railroad will challenge a deal between Union Pacific and Rio Grande Pacific to run rail services on the Tennessee Pass Line.
President-elect Joe Biden has nominated former Mayor of South Bend as his transportation secretary, a move welcomed by the rail industry.
Seth Moulton introduced the American High-Speed Rail Act which proposes to invest $205 billion in the US's high-speed rail infrastructure.
Alstom is the latest member to join the US High Speed Rail Association following Deutsche Bahn prior to Biden's inauguration.
Amtrak will operate the Metrolink services in Southern California from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2025, having beaten four competing bids.
BNSF has won a court case in Oklahoma challenging a state law banning trains from stopping for more than 10 minutes on a level crossing.
CSX, a United States Class 1 railroad, has announced that it will acquire Pan Am Railways, expanding its presence in New England.
The FRA has published its third quarter 2020 update on the implementation of positive train control on the mandated route miles.
Deutsche Bahn has become a member of the US High Speed Rail Association, which aims to promote support for high-speed rail in America.
Amtrak, SEPTA and PennDOT have received 15.9m USD in grant funding from the FRA to upgrade signalling equipment on the Harrisburg Line.
USHSR has published a 5-point plan for developing high-speed rail in the US, starting with a new High Speed Rail Development Authority.
Project Connect was on the ballot for voters as they went to the polls on 3 November 2020 and they voted in favour of light rail in Austin.
The American Public Transportation Association says all commuter railroads in the United States are on track to meet the 2020 PTC deadline.
The United States has a new president-elect, Joe Biden. But why is he called 'Amtrak Joe'? And what has he said about the importance of rail?
The renovation of The Broadmoor Cog Railway has reached its halfway milestone, prior to its expected reopening in May 2021.
Hitachi Rail has won a contracty worth 798 million USD to install a modern CBTC system in the San Francisco Bay Area (BART).
Siemens Mobility has received an order from Valley Metro, Phoenix, Arizona, for a further 14 S700 light rail vehicles.
The proposed high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston has reached an important milestone with regulatory approvals from the FRA.
The RTA has received a 15 million USD Build grant that will help pay for the new heavy rail Red Line fleet it wishes to procure.
Katie Farmer will take over from Carl R. Ice as CEO and President of BNSF starting on 1 January 2021, following his retirement.
NJ TRANSIT has exercised an option from a 2008 contract for a further 8 ALP-45 dual-power locomotives from Bombardier Transportation.
Amtrak has now completed the installation of positive train control (PTC) across its entire 898 miles of track it owns.
Amtrak has revealed renderings of the new ALC-42 Siemens Charger diesel-electric locomotives that fulfil Tier 4 emissions standards.
Bombardier has signed a contract with the NCTD (California) for 11 BiLevel coaches and cab cars for the Coaster service.
Ground-breaking events for the new 26-mile Silver Line took place at six locations in the Dallas Area Rapid Transit region on 19 September.
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is headquartered in Washington, D.C. It lobbies Congress on behalf of the railroad industry.
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