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Politics & Government

Amtrak celebrates completion of twenty year corridor expansion in Delaware

Roman Battaglia / Delaware Public Media

The train ride between Wilmington and Newark should be faster now, with the completion of a nearly twenty-year project to build a new rail line through the corridor.

The one-and-a-half-mile stretch between Wilmington and Newark has been called a bottleneck by many, including Amtrak themselves. It only had two tracks, compared to the three the rest of the line does.

But a recent upgrade brings a new electrified line to the stretch, which will be shared by both Amtrak and SEPTA.

Sen. Chris Coons says this has been almost 20 years in the making.

“This long-needed reduction in this critical bottleneck here in the Mid-Atlantic is a project that’s taken many partners and many years, and I am thrilled that today we’re cutting the ribbon on it.”

Coons adds this upgrade is especially needed now, as DelDOT prepares for a massive renovation of the I-95 corridor through Wilmington, and passenger trains will be there to alleviate the congestion.

Amtrak President Stephen Gardner says the $71 million project is just the beginning of big investments into the Northeast corridor.

“For the first time, agencies like SEPTA and Amtrak with the states in the Northeast corridor have built a comprehensive plan, 20 years worth of investments to be able to grow this corridor and deliver better service. Now what we need is that partnership with the federal government and all the states to help bring that plan into fruition and that’s gonna be our focus in the coming years.”

The project was a collaboration between Amtrak, DelDOT and the Delaware Transit Corporation.

Delaware's senators are both regular commuters by train to Washington D.C.

Sen. Tom Carper says even though ridership is down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he expects it to come back stronger than ever next year.