Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Construction on Trans-Hudson Train Tunnel to Begin This Year

Construction is expected to start this summer on an 800-foot-long Amtrak train tunnel that's part of a larger rail project to create a new connection between Manhattan and New Jersey, but it will be several years before trains ever traverse the tunnel. The tunnel will one day be a rail link connecting Manhattan's future Moynihan Station with Amtrak's Gateway Project—two things that don't yet exist. So why build the tunnel now? Amtrak must complete the tunnel before Related Companies constructs the Hudson Yards deck over the rail yards, which would make building the tunnel impossible.  Additionally, federal funding has been approved for construction to begin.

Hudson Yards developer, Related Companies, which has begun construction on a 900-foot office tower that will be home to Coach, will build the box tunnel this year and next simultaneous with construction of the Coach tower and other elements of the 26-acre site.

Amtrak will pay for the $150 million project out of funds it will receive through the Federal Transit Administration

The box tunnel will not be designed to carry trains immediately, but will serve as a shell for the Manhattan end of the Gateway tunnel Amtrak hopes to build later.

The box will hold the space for a rail link between the future Hudson tunnel and existing tracks at Penn Station — and for the proposed Moynihan Station if it’s ever built.

With no firm timeline for Amtrak's Gateway project, or Moynihan Station, nobody knows when the new tunnel will actually carry trains, however officials say it is a vital link for an upgraded system. Some of the funding is actually coming from the Hurricane Sandy relief package, as the project is considered "mitigation" to protect transportation infrastructure from future storms and flooding.

The Gateway Project is a proposal to build a high-speed rail corridor to alleviate the bottleneck along the Northeast Corridor between Newark, New Jersey, and New York City.

If constructed, the project would add 25 additional rush hour trains between Newark Penn Station and New York Penn Station.

The project would build new rail bridges in the New Jersey Meadowlands, dig new tunnels under the Hudson Palisades and the Hudson River, convert parts of the James Farley Post Office into a rail station, and build the Moynihan Station annex to Penn Station.

Funding for the Gateway Project is awaiting Federal approval, and is expected to cost $14.5 billion and be completed in 2025.

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[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, Feb 12, 2012]
[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, May 17, 2012]
[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, Jul 25, 2011]