On Monday, December 7, 2020, Amtrak hosted a media event to celebrate the completion of the Delaware Third Track Project. Construction began in October 2012 and was kicked off with a similar media event.
This project has a long history - nearly 20 years in the making - which made the ribbon cutting an even more momentous occasion.
The $71.2 million project developed as a shared benefit investment as part of a 2011 agreement between Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC) and Amtrak and was funded using Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grants issued to DTC along with Amtrak fund to increase capacity between Wilmington and Newark, Delaware on the Northeast Corridor.
This project - completed by Amtrak, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and the DTC - represents a major infrastructure expansion project in the Northeast Corridor, included installation of 1.5 miles of a new, electrified main line third track between Ragan and Yard interlockings, bridge replacement, and other improvements, eliminating a previous two track bottleneck.
The change will result in improved on-time performance, reduction in delays, and overall improvement in this section of railroad.
The completion of this project marks an important rail capacity expansion milestone on the Northeast Corridor, resolving bottlenecks which previously constrained SEPTA and Amtrak from operating service at maximum capacity. It will improve operational efficiency for both Amtrak and SEPTA.
This was a major undertaking – particularly while maintaining service throughout construction.
SEPTA’s Wilmington/Newark Regional service is an important part of SEPTA's Regional Rail Network and we work closely with DelDOT, DART, and Amtrak to serve Delawareans and those traveling to Delaware for work.
We thank Senators Carper and Coons for their leadership in working to ensure that transit agencies have the resources they need to provide our vital public service.
When our customers are ready to come back, this project will improve service for all customers by providing greater flexibility in scheduling trains in Delaware.
Speakers included Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn, Amtrak President Stephen Gardner, Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards.
All guests at the event were required to wear masks/face coverings (even when speaking) and practice physical distancing from others. Antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer was provided.