Infrastructure Upgrade to Enable Amtrak Services between Scranton and New York

The state of Pennsylvania is investing 3.7 million USD to enable Amtrak passenger rail services to run between Scranton and New York City via the Pocono Mountains and New Jersey.

The funding from the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is also expected to be matched with 3.7 million USD in federal finances.

This total will enable 43,000 new railroad ties (sleepers) to be installed on 40 miles of track in the Poconos — a necessary infrastructure upgrade for Amtrak passenger trains to use this route.

US Rep. Matt Cartwright said:

“This award adds to the building momentum and is a crucial step forward. A large and diverse group of supporters has come together to ensure we maximise our efforts when it comes to this significant economic development opportunity and it's great to have the Pennsylvania executive branch on our side.”

Although freight trains and passenger excursions already operate on this section of track, the current infrastructure is insufficient for the operating speeds of Amtrak services. The new railway sleepers will improve the track to allow Amtrak to run train services at 80mph on this section.

Once federal funding has been secured and final guidelines have been received from the Federal Railroad Administration, tie installation is expected to begin in spring next year.

Last year, Amtrak proposed 39 new routes, including between Scranton and New York City, as well as routes connecting New York City to Allentown and Reading in Pennsylvania. These three routes could serve a combined 1.3 million riders each year.

Amtrak also estimates that the Scranton-New York route would have an annual economic impact of 87 million USD, following an initial impact of 2.9 billion USD from capital investments.

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