The primary purpose of the project is to address the structural and operational deficiencies of the B&P Tunnel. In addition, the project would: improve travel time, accommodate existing and projected travel demand for passenger services (regional and commuter), eliminate impediments to existing and projected operations along the NEC, provide operational reliability, and take into account the value of the existing tunnel as an important element of Baltimore's rail infrastructure.
The purpose of the project was derived from the following needs:
- The existing B&P Tunnel is more than 140 years old and is approaching the end of its useful life with regard to its physical condition. While the tunnel currently remains safe for rail transportation, it requires substantial maintenance and repairs, and it does not meet current design standards. The tunnel is considered to be structurally deficient due to its age, the original design, and wear and tear. The tunnel is also functionally obsolete, meaning that it is not able to meet current and future rail demands due to its vertical and horizontal track alignment. The low-speed tunnel creates a bottleneck at a critical point in the NEC, affecting operations of the most heavily-traveled rail line in the United States.
- The tunnel does not provide enough capacity to support existing and projected demands for regional and commuter passenger service.
- The existing tunnel is not suited for modern high-speed usage due to the current horizontal and vertical track alignment, which limits passenger train speeds through the tunnel to 30 MPH.
- The existing tunnel is a valuable resource. The disposition of the existing tunnel needs to be considered in the project.
Click here to view the B&P Tunnel Project Purpose & Need, September 29, 2014