A $3.3 million federal grant to build 2 miles of track in upstate New York will ease “significant congestion” for a freight rail yard and Amtrak passenger service, said the Department of Transportation.
The federal grant, along with $3.5 million from the state, will build a second main line track used by Canadian Pacific Railway and Amtrak in the area between Saratoga and the Village of Ballston Spa.
“Adding rail capacity is an integral part of our high-speed intercity passenger rail program, and it creates win-win situations for passengers and the freight railroads,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “Both Amtrak and the freight railroads in upstate New York will benefit by eliminating this choke point.”
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New York and CP signed a service outcome agreement for the project, which gets under way this spring. The DOT said Amtrak’s Adirondack and Ethan Allen Express services there both saw ridership grow in 2010, “and the second mainline track will relieve significant congestion near the Saratoga train station and a major freight classification yard.” Congestion now requires Amtrak trains to wait up to half an hour for the track to clear.
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said “adding track in Saratoga Springs and Ballston Spa will reduce congestion and improve reliability.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this project is a step toward eventual high speed passenger rail service, and a boon to train service across the region. “This project will help alleviate the frustrating delays near Ballston Spa that riders of Amtrak’s Vermont and Adirondack-bound trains have endured for too long.”