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Harold Interlocking Northeast Corridor Congestion Relief Project

Project Overview

Harold Interlocking, located in Queens, New York approximately 4 miles east of Midtown Manhattan, is the busiest rail interlocking in the Country and is a vital link in Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service between Boston and New York. Currently, Amtrak service must compete with local train services by crossing over mainline tracks in Harold Interlocking. These train moves must be carefully timed with local trains to avoid delays on the Northeast Corridor service, in particular during peak periods. Improvements are now underway to improve Amtrak service and reduce delays.

The Harold Interlocking Northeast Corridor Congestion Relief Project will construct new conflict-free train routes for Amtrak along two miles of the Northeast Corridor. These bypass routes will greatly improve reliability, on time performance, and travel time for existing Amtrak service by providing direct, conflict free routes through Harold Interlocking that is needed to make high speed rail possible on the Northeast Corridor in the future.

On August 22, 2011, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) obligated federal grant funds from the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to undertake a comprehensive passenger rail congestion relief project at Harold Interlocking on the Northeast Corridor mainline. NYSDOT and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) have entered into a Subgrant Agreement. The MTA will design, construct and manage the project concurrent with the East Side Access project currently underway throughout Harold Interlocking and Sunnyside Yard in Queens, NY. The Congestion Relief Project was awarded for $368,476,974 with $294,781,579 funded by the FRA and $73,695,395 provided by the MTA.

For additional information regarding the work at Harold Interlocking please read, Harold Interlocking NEC.

Map of Harold Interlocking

Westbound Bypass

The Westbound Bypass tunnel enables Amtrak trains entering Harold Interlocking from the Hell Gate Line to be routed into Penn Station East River Tunnel (ERT) Line 2 conflict free, thereby decreasing the number of potential service delays. Construction of the grade separated Westbound Bypass will reduce travel times through Harold Interlocking and allow Amtrak to increase service.

Eastbound Bypass

The Eastbound Bypass tunnel enables Amtrak trains entering Harold Interlocking from Penn Station to be routed into the Hell Gate Line Track 2 decreasing the number of conflicts and thereby reducing the number of potential service delays which may be caused by current service levels. Construction of the Eastbound Reroute will reduce travel times through Harold Interlocking and allow Amtrak to increase service.

Amtrak Building Demolition

Demolish aged Amtrak Buildings for re-development by Amtrak for additional storage tracks.

Amtrak Car Washer Replacement

In order to accommodate the new track alignment for the loop track, Amtrak's current car washer must be demolished. A new car washer will be built to meet Amtrak's operational needs.

Loop Interlocking and Central Instrument Locations

Modification of the existing Loop Track interlocking, installation of Central Instrument Locations (CILs), and crossovers provides additional routing options east of the Amtrak car washer. The CIL contains all of the signaling logic and electronics to safely allow trains to move on pre-established routes through a prescribed geographical area. This routing permits efficient access by Amtrak from the Amtrak Bypass track to the existing Sunnyside Yard storage tracks.

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