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Amtrak News


The track maintenance project will replace 1950s-era rail infrastructure, enhancing customer ride quality and service reliability.


Amtrak is investing $122 million in Pennsylvania to improve tracks on the Harrisburg Line, between Lancaster and Harrisburg. This work will improve ride quality and comfort, increase service reliability and complete necessary work required to keep the tracks in a state of good repair. 

Amtrak is accelerating the project to replace this aging rail infrastructure and will complete the work in nearly half the original estimated timeline of two years. To extend the long-term benefits of the project, Amtrak will replace the existing wood ties with concrete ties, which have an expected lifespan of 60 years vs. 25 years for traditional wood ties. 

Amtrak is working together with state partners at PennDOT to preserve ridership and help ensure the continued success of the partnership. In addition, Amtrak is working closely with Norfolk Southern and impacted freight shippers to minimize the disruption to their operations during the project.

Project Benefits 

This work will help to improve ride quality, increase service reliability and address necessary track maintenance. Specific details include: 

  • Installing 43 track miles of rail, replacing nearly 100% of rail in this territory
  • Installing 113,000 concrete ties, each weighing approximately 900 pounds. That’s nearly 51,000 US tons, or the weight of more than 29,000 small SUVs
  • Cleaning and refreshing 226,500 feet of gravel track bed, or ballast, to support the track structure and improve drainage
Continued Improvements 
Much of the rail infrastructure Amtrak operates on across the Northeast Corridor (NEC) was last renewed in the 1970s. This infrastructure is now approaching the time for replacement and modernization. Historically, Amtrak has fully renewed approximately 30 miles of track per year. This project will support the company’s accelerated plan of renewing more than 55 miles of track in the coming year, an increase of nearly 85%. 

As Amtrak enters a new era of rail, the company has made unprecedented investments to improve Northeast Corridor infrastructure. Due to the scope and scale of investment demands, Amtrak is implementing new and innovative strategies to promote efficient and productive infrastructure project completion. This includes expanding construction outage schedules in the short term that helps to accelerate work and complete projects faster, while minimizing long-term impacts to customers and train service.

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