Transit Records: Amtrak, Stantec/HART, Metrolink, New York MTA, San Diego MTS/NCTD

Written by

Marybeth Luczak, Editor-in-Chief

Beginning July 29, Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express will expand north to serve Middlebury, Vergennes and Burlington, Vt. (Amtrak/Steve Ostrowski)

The Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) has announced that Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express will begin serving Burlington, Vermont next month. Additionally, Stantec was awarded a contract extension for work on the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) light rail project; Metrolink in Southern California Deploys Next Phase of Earthquake Early Warning System; The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) launched an online trip planner for riders considering new trips to Grand Central Madison; and a new program from the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and the North County Transit District (NCTD) will offer free transit passes to young adults exiting foster care.

Amtrak Ethan AllenExpress will expand service north from its current terminus in Rutland, Vt., starting July 29. It will add stops in Middlebury and Vergennes, Vt., and continue to Burlington, after extensive planning and infrastructure work, according to Vermont AOT. Part of that work included rebuilding the main line tunnel, which Vermont Railway—The age of the railway2022 Short Line of the Year – Completed Spring with State of Vermont, City of Middlebury, New England Central Railroad (NECR), Lead Designer VHB, Kubricky Construction Corp. and Engineers Construction Inc. Ethan AllenExpress will depart Burlington daily at 10:10 a.m. and arrive at Penn Station in New York at 5:45 p.m.; rates will start at $75. Northbound service will depart Penn Station at 2:21 p.m. daily and arrive in Burlington at 9:55 p.m.

“Our agency’s talented and dedicated railroad executives, engineers and planners deserve immense credit for their unwavering dedication to bringing Vermonters and visitors to the state this new transportation option for travel between New York and Burlington,” said said Vermont Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn.

Map of the 20-mile, 21-station streetcar line under construction in O’ahu between Kapolei and Ala Moana Center. (Map courtesy of HART)

Stantec secured a $119 million contract extension to continue engineering and construction inspection services for the eastern section of the STAG light rail project. The contract will run through the end of 2026, with the possibility of a five-year extension until the project’s scheduled completion in 2031. The 20-mile, 21-station elevated light rail system will connect West Oahu to Honolulu International Airport; downtown Honolulu; and the Ala Moana Center, a major commercial center and transit hub.

“Light rail is a critical part of improving transportation in Hawaii and achieving our climate goals,” said HART Executive Director and CEO Lori Kahikina. “Providing a backbone connecting downtown, major transit centers and the airport will significantly improve our transit system. Stantec has been with us since the beginning, and we appreciate their long-standing expertise and service in completing the project.

In related developments, HART earlier this month submitted a recovery plan to the Federal Transit Administration documenting how it will complete the project within available funding. Due to an estimated funding shortfall in March 2021, the transit agency’s plan proposes to truncate the 1.25-mile project with an interim terminus at Civic Center Station, located at the Halekauwila intersection Street and South Street, and to report the Pearl Highlands car park. Garage. The moves will keep the overall cost below $10 billion, according to HART, which said it remains committed to completing the entire Ala Moana Center project in a later phase. The plan has been approved by the HART Board of Directors; Honolulu City Council Committee on Transportation, Health and Sustainability; and the entire Honolulu City Council prior to submission.

Metrolinkin partnership with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the US Geological Survey (USGS), began testing an earthquake early warning system last fall along the 91/Perris Valley rail line between Perris and Riverside (see map above).

The system was able to send automated messages to train crews to begin slowing or stopping the train, as needed.

The next stage of testing is an updated version of the earthquake early warning system that is based on an interface between Metrolink’s Positive Train Control (PTC) system and ShakeAlert® operated by the USGS. The system will process ShakeAlert data – origin, time, location and magnitude of the earthquake – and send PTC messages to trains in the affected area to automatically slow down or stop depending on the severity of the earthquake, depending on the passenger railway.

The new system will also provide “enhanced data to support rail network inspection and service recovery after an earthquake,” Metrolink reported.

Following the pilot on the 91/Perris Valley line, staff will evaluate the performance of the earthquake early warning system for potential expansion on the 538-mile, seven-line regional/commuter rail network that covers Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and North San Diego counties.

(ShakeAlerts do not predict earthquakes, according to Metrolink. Instead, an alert indicates that an earthquake has started, shaking is expected, and protective measures should be taken.)

New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) launched a new tool, gcmtrips.mta.infoallowing Long Island Rail Road passengers to plan trips to and from Grand Central Madison, Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal or any other station when service to Grand Central Madison begins in late 2022. To use the trip planner, a passenger can enter the originating station, destination, travel time and day of the week, and the planner will suggest routes and transfer options, according to MTA.

Schedules included are currently in draft form and subject to change; they will be finalized this fall.

“The online trip planner will help LIRR customers see the many new travel opportunities that the opening of Grand Central Madison will bring to Long Island Rail Road,” said Catherine Rinaldi, Acting President of MTA Long Island Rail Road. and President of MTA Metro-Northern Railway. “Once the public has a chance to plan their new ride, they will see how many new travel opportunities the new, updated schedules provide at our beautiful new Grand Central Madison Terminal, revitalized Penn Station and our Brooklyn hub at Atlantic Ave.”

San Diego MTS and NCTD in California are partnering in a pilot program that will offer free passes to people between the ages of 18 and 24, who have been in and out of the foster care system, or are currently in extended foster care. Once approved for the PRONTO Extend program, participants will be able to download the free transit pass to their PRONTO app or PRONTO card for MTS and NCTD, Trolley and SPRINTER and COASTER fixed-route bus services each month. Scheduled to launch on July 1, the program will run for up to 18 months, until December 31, 2023.

“Young adults who have left the foster care system face unique challenges as they enter adulthood,” said Nathan Fletcher, chairman of the MTS board of directors and chairman of the county board of supervisors. from San Diego. “Many young people in transition do not have social safety nets or financial support from their families. Our goal with the PRONTO Extend program is to offer additional resources to facilitate this transition from foster care to more independent living. Being able to benefit from free transport to school or work is an important stepping stone to help them succeed. »

Key words: Amtrak, Breaking News, HART, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, LIRR, Metrolink, MTA Long Island Rail Road, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, North County Transit District, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, Stantec, Vermont Agency of Transportation

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