Amtrak Awards Contract to Build Baltimore Tunnel

AmtrakBy Railfan & Railroad Staff

Amtrak has selected Kiewit/J.F. Shea Joint Venture to build the brand new, state-of-the-art passenger rail tunnel that will serve electrified Amtrak and MARC commuter trains on the Northeast Corridor in Baltimore. 

The new Frederick Douglass Tunnel will be the centerpiece of an effort to modernize about 10 miles of the NEC in the region. The new tunnel is named in honor of civil rights leader and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, a Maryland native whose 206th birthday is later this month. Construction of the tunnel will begin in 2026. 

“We are one step closer to unlocking the biggest passenger rail bottleneck on the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C. and New Jersey,” said Amtrak Executive Vice President, Capital Delivery Laura Mason. “This would not be possible without historic funding through the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, as well as continued support from the Biden-Harris Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration and our funding partners at Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA).”

Located just south of Baltimore Penn Station, the new tunnel will serve electrified passenger trains with two parallel, single-track tunnel tubes, each approximately two miles long. It will also support much faster travel speeds than the existing tunnel, where trains are currently limited to maximum speeds of 30 mph due to the tight curves. The tunnel is expected to be open in 2035. 

This article was posted on: February 13, 2024