Amtrak upgrading low-speed track between DC and Baltimore

Train travelers using Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor may have noticed service sometimes bogs down between Washington’s Union Station and Baltimore — now Amtrak is taking steps to deal with the reality.

Amtrak is upgrading a 31-mile stretch of track between D.C. and Baltimore, as it positions itself for its next generation of high speed Acela Express trains, which are scheduled to enter service in 2021.

Of the three tracks Amtrak uses between Washington and Baltimore, only two of them meet standards for trains capable of going 125 miles per hour.

In a statement, Amtrak said it is now upgrading its lower speed track to high-speed standards “creating three track capacity high-speed railroad along one of the most congested and
delay-prone portions of the Northeast Corridor.”

Amtrak will replace and realign track, as part of its infrastructure improvements, which are expected to be completed by 2021. The company said the improvements will not hamper current service.

Other aspects of the project include building a third platform track at the New Carrollton station, to expand track and station capacity.

In Baltimore’s Penn Station, a current platform will be rehabilitated, and another platform built to handle passengers using high-speed trains. The station’s overhead electrical system will also be modernized.

Amtrak said the infrastructure project will allow for expansion of its Acela Express fleet, by increasing track capacity, and facilitating trains passing each other on the corridors, as needed.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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