Thursday, June 24, 2021

Frederick Douglass Tunnel to Supplement the 1873 B&P Tunnel

(South Portal Satellite; North Portal Satellite)

B&P = Baltimore and Potomac

Record of Decision

The original plan was to bore four tubes. But the current plan is to bore just two tubes for the passenger trains and leave the freight trains in the old tunnel. This will eliminate diesel train fumes from the ventilation facility of the new tunnels and save more than $1b. The two tubes are supposed to cost "only" $4b. It also cut two years off the construction time so that it will take "only" 10 years. The design is supposed to accommodate adding two tubes for freight trains. (If they can bore two tubes for $1b in two years then what are they doing with the extra $3b and 8 years? It sounds like an additional expense is that the MARC commuter trains will be electrified.)
Amtrak via Railway Age via Progressive Railroading

Some of the $3b includes rebuilding a 4 mile route and building a new MARC station. Also, some track is being moved to flatten some curves so I some properties need to be bought.
Amtrak and
"The B&P Tunnel, located in Baltimore, dates from the Civil War era. At nearly 150 years old, it is the oldest tunnel Amtrak inherited and a single point of failure for MARC’s busiest line (the Penn Line) and the Northeast Corridor."  [RailwayAge's caption]
The speed limit will increase from 30 mph to 100 mph. The new tunnels will have emergency egress pathways and ventilation systems.
In addition to the old tunnel falling apart, "there are no fire and life safety systems to keep passengers safe in the event of emergencies." [ProgressiveRailroading]

"The age of the structure, combined with excessive amounts of water leaking into the tunnel walls and flowing underneath the track floor, has led to falling bricks and concrete, small portions of the wall collapsing and settlement (sinking) in the track floor."

Is code 1.1, GUIDEWAY AND TRACK ELEMENTS, the digging of the tubes? Note this estimate was made back when they were planning on doing 4 tubes. It seems to me that category 8 is a fudge factor of a billion dollars.
Record of Decision, pp 32,33

I skimmed the four Appendixes of the Record of Decision, but I could not find any information on "new bridges" that one article listed as part of the project.

1 comment:

  1. You'd hope with the pending 1.2T infrastructure plan they'd be able to go back to the 4 tube project. But 1.2T'z is only a 1200B'z, and as Dr Evil learned: a billion isn't allot of money anymore.