New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced a long-term lease agreement between CSX Corporation and Amtrak, which allows Amtrak to take control of the Hudson Line between Schenectady and Poughkeepsie.
The New York State Department of Transportation led the efforts to transform the 94-mile Hudson Line from a freight-controlled line to an Amtrak-controlled line.
The contract, which took effect on Dec. 1, ensures that passenger rail service has scheduling priority, and it also paves the way for four rail improvement projects, totaling $181 million, that are intended to reduce congestion along the Empire Corridor from New York City to Niagara Falls and improve travel times and reliability for passengers and freight.
Dispatching of trains will now move from CSX’s freight yard at Selkirk to Amtrak’s Command and Control Center in New York City.
The four projects include construction of an additional track between Rensselaer and Schenectady to reduce congestion, building of a fourth track at the Rensselaer Station to reduce congestion and delays, grade crossing enhancement along the Empire Corridor South to improve safety for vehicles and trains and signal line improvements south of Albany to increase reliability.
Work is already underway on the improvement projects. Some $155.5 million in funding for these projects is being provided by the federal government, and $23.15 million will come from the statetate.
Amtrak can now improve the Hudson Line by taking advantage of Federal Railroad Administration funding without the approval of CSX.
“This agreement also ensures that CSX will have the ability to continue providing efficient, economical and environmentally beneficial freight rail service to customers and communities on the line,” said Louis Renjel, CSX’s vice president of strategic infrastructure.