skip to searchskip to content
banner
Amtrak Northeast Corridor Improvement Project records
print eadcite thisAsk Hagley
Amtrak Northeast Corridor Improvement Project records

Accession 2731

Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library


PO Box 3630
Wilmington, Delaware, 19807
302-658-2400
askhagley@hagley.org

Finding aid prepared by Dave Burdash and Clayton J. Ruminski, 2018.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2018-11-02T14:55-0400

Finding aid prepared using best local practices and Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Cite items for this collection in the following format:
[Description and dates], Box/folder number, Amtrak Northeast Corridor Improvement Project records (Accession 2731), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

icon

Descriptive Summary

Title: Amtrak Northeast Corridor Improvement Project records
Dates: 1956-1994
Accession Number: 2731
Creator: National Railroad Passenger Corporation.
Extent: 3.4 linear feet
Language of Material: English
Repository: Hagley Museum and Library: Manuscripts and Archives Department
Abstract: The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) first began operations on May 1, 1971, following the passage of the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970. Through the passage of the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976, Congress authorized the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project (NECIP), a comprehensive program with the goal of improving intercity rail passenger service between Washington, D.C., through New York City, to Boston, the most heavily used passenger train corridor in the United States. Records related to Amtrak's involvement in the NECIP include preliminary and ongoing technical and financial reports, leases and agreements, as well as minutes, agendas, and other working project files.
icon

Administrative Information


Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access.

icon

Historical Note

The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) first began operations on May 1, 1971, following the passage of the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970.

As both rail passenger and freight service declined in the face of increasing competition from truck, barge, air carriers, and automobiles, several proposals were brought forward to address the issue. Such proposals included route subsidies, equipment subsidies, and the formation of a semi-public corporation to overtake operations of intercity passenger operations. After the Penn Central Corporation, then the largest railroad in the Northeastern United States, filed to discontinue the majority of its passenger trains early in 1970, Congress passed the Rail Passenger Service Act in October of the same year, with proponents of the bill seeking government funding to maintain passenger service. As a result, Amtrak, a private entity funded by taxpayer dollars, was formed to take over passenger service formerly operated by private railroads.

Consequently, Amtrak inherited a litany of problems, including redundant facilities previously used by competing railroads, poorly maintained train stations, and the responsibility of rerouting passenger trains in major cities such as Chicago and New York. In Chicago, for example, passenger routes were rerouted from seven terminals into just one, that being Union Station. However, in the early 1970s, Amtrak had the opportunity to acquire several high-profile lines following the bankruptcy of numerous northeastern railroads. This included the Northeast Corridor, primarily owned and operated by Penn Central and situated between Boston and Washington, D.C., the most heavily used passenger train corridor in the United States.

After a long, drawn-out attempt to reorganize, Penn Central declared bankruptcy in 1976. Amtrak acquired much of the Northeast Corridor from Penn Central through the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 and the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (4R Act), despite a large portion of the latter legislation directed toward the creation of Conrail. Through the 4R Act, Congress authorized the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project (NECIP), a comprehensive program with the goal of improving intercity rail passenger service between Washington, D.C., through New York City, to Boston. The NECIP set an initial goal of achieving scheduled passenger rail service in three hours or less between New York City and Boston, and two hours and forty minutes between New York City and Washington, D.C.

To achieve this, a general overhaul of the line was required. NECIP construction began in 1977 with a planned funding level of $2.5 billion, though Congressional budget restructuring reduced the program by $310 million in 1979. Early funding was largely concentrated on correcting deferred maintenance and making improvements, including safety, new Centralized Electrification and Traffic Control centers, and modernization of the signaling system, setting the stage for later high-speed operation. Additionally, the NECIP focused on other auxiliary improvements such as terminals, shops and yard facilities, grade crossings, and conducting risk analysis for joint passenger and freight operations. Amtrak also introduced the AEM-7 locomotive, which served to lower travel times between major cities, becoming Amtrak’s most successful locomotive operating on the corridor. Despite these improvements, however, Amtrak’s scheduled passenger rail service goals were not achieved until the 1990s due to reduced funding from Congress throughout the 1980s.

In 1991, a separate program called the Northeast Highspeed Rail Improvement Project was implemented to improve the New York to Boston segment of the Northeast Corridor. Similar to the NECIP, it encompassed numerous infrastructure improvements, including electrification of the New Haven-Boston line.

icon

Scope and Content

Records related to Amtrak’s involvement in the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project (NECIP) primarily include technical and financial reports, leases and agreements, as well as working files that include agendas, committee minutes, articles, and other documents highlighting critical operational concerns along the Northeast Corridor.

Status, technical, and financial reports comprise the largest segment of the records. The reports highlight the statistical, operational, and financial status of the NECIP following its commencement in 1977. Also included are monthly progress reports issued between 1978 and 1980. Technical reports prepared for the Federal Railroad Administration cover issues involving electrification, shops and yard facilities, management of planning and control systems, bridge analysis and inspection, as well as grade crossings and terminals. Reports covering the Corridor Master Plan outline specific program objectives, Federal Railroad Administration guidelines, and qualifications and uncertainties with the NECIP. Of note in this series is a 1973 reorganization plan for the Penn Central Transportation Company proposed by Richard J. Smith, trustee of the property of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company.

Leases and agreements between Amtrak and Conrail following the implementation of the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act in February 1976 cover the operation of rolling stock and other equipment, maintenance issues, management of the Northeast Corridor and Amtrak’s Corridor Service, and the lease and purchase of off-corridor properties.

Working files include memos, studies, articles, correspondence, and minutes related to the NECIP. Of note is a 1978 observational study of the Japanese National Railroad’s Shinkansen Line running from Tokyo to Hakata. Additional files comprise background data on the NECIP as well as statistics used in generating reports, such as the evaluation of safety measures involving track curvatures, rail failures, breaking systems, passenger handling, and electrification systems. Lastly, minutes and agendas from the NECIP Committee summarize the status of specific projects, including subcontractors, work in the Baltimore and New York tunnels, and issues with labor.

icon

Arrangement

The Amtrak Northeast Corridor Improvement Project records are arranged into three series:

Series I. Reports, is divided into three subseries, each arranged alphabetically by document type and then chronologically.

Series II. Leases and agreements, is arranged alphabetically.

Series III. Working files, is arranged alphabetically by document type.

icon
icon

Series Descriptions and Inventory

I. Reports, 1971-1983
Scope and Content
Series I, Reports, highlight the statistical, operational, and financial status of the NECIP following its commencement in 1977. Included are monthly progress reports issued between 1978 and 1980. Technical reports prepared for the Federal Railroad Administration cover issues involving electrification, shops and yard facilities, management of planning and control systems, bridge analysis and inspection, as well as grade crossings and terminals. Reports covering the Corridor Master Plan outline specific program objectives, Federal Railroad Administration guidelines, and qualifications and uncertainties with the NECIP.
A. Status reports
Box Folder
1 1 Annual report - Amtrak, 1975
1 2 Annual report - NECIP, fiscal year 1977, 1978 February
1 3 Annual report - NECIP, fiscal year 1979, 1980 February 5
1 4 Financial status report, 1977 January - June
1 5 Financial status report, 1977 July - November
1 6 Financial status report, 1977 December
1 7 Financial status report, 1978 January - February
1 8 Financial status report, 1978 February
1 9 Financial status report, 1978 March
1 10 Financial status report, 1978 May
1 11 General progress report - NEC, 1976
1 12-25 Monthly progress reports [includes 1978 September; 1979 February; 1979 May; 1979 August; 1980 January-October]
1 26 Procurement report, 1978 December
1 27 Procurement report, 1979 January
1 28 Procurement report, 1979 February
1 29 Program summary - NECIP, 1976 February
1 30 Statistical and operational summary - NEC, 1982 July 2
1 31 Two-Year Report - NEC, 1978 February
1 32 Work package status report, 1978 April [includes financial recap]
B. Technical reports
Box Folder
1 33 Recommendations for Northeast Corridor Transportation, 1971 September
1 34 Operation of High Speed Passenger Trains in Rail Freight Corridors, 1975 September
Box Folder
2 1 Task 1 - Management Survey, 1975 December [summary report]
2 2 Task 2 - Development of Program Management Organization Structure, 1976 January [summary report]
2 3 Task 3 - Management Planning and Control System, 1976 March [summary report]
2 4 Task 5 - Electrification, 1975 August
2 5 Task 6 - Risk Analysis of Joint Passenger/Freight Operations, 1975 August
2 6 Task 7A - Terminals, 1975 May
2 7 Task 7B - Shops and Yard Facilities, 1975 September
2 8 Task 10 - Grade Crossings and Fencing, 1975 April
2 9 Task 10N - Grade Crossings and Fencing, 1975 September
2 10 Task 11S - Improvement Plan for Physical Plant with Estimated Costs, Vol. I, 1975 August
2 11 Tasks 15.1 and 15.2 - Bridge Inspection, Analysis, Rating, and Improvement Program, Vol. I, 1977 January
2 12 Tasks 15.1 and 15.2 - Bridge Inspection, Analysis, Rating, and Improvement Program, Vol. VI - Movable Bridges, 1977 January
2 13 Tasks 15.1 and 15.2 - Bridge Inspection, Analysis, Rating, and Improvement Program, Vol. VIII - Rating Summary, 1977 January
2 14 Task 15.4 - Route Selection Providence to East Junction, 1977 January
2 15 Task 102 - Corridor Master Plan II - NECIP Restructured Program, 1982 January [Draft]
2 16 Task 202 - Amtrak Four-Year Trackwork Program, 1977 October
2 17 Task 312 - Corridor Master Plan - Basis paper, circa 1979
2 18-19 Task 312 - Corridor Master Plan, 1980 January [Draft]
Box Folder
3 1 Task 312 - Corridor Master Plan, 1980 February [Final Report]
3 2 Task 312 - Corridor Master Plan, 1980 March [Final Report]
3 3 Task 312 - Corridor Master Plan - Construction/implementation, 1980 October
C. Plans and reviews
Box Folder
3 4 CETC (Centralized Electrification and Traffic Control System) executive review, 1983 May
3 5 Northeast Corridor planning review, 1976 December
3 6 Amtrak's 1980 Program - Plans, goals, and anticipated problems, 1980 April 3
3 7 Northeast Corridor Operations Plan, 1979 May
3 8 Penn Central Transportation Company reorganization plan, 1973 June 27
3 9 Quarterly review, 1978 February 1
3 10 Quarterly review, 1978 May 3
3 11-23 Work program reviews [includes 1977 October 25; 1977 November 15; 1977 December 1; 1977 December 13; 1978 January 24; 1978 February 1; 1978 February 28; 1978 March 28; 1978 April 19; 1978 May 3; 1978 August 8; 1978 September 18; 1984 March 14]
II. Leases and agreements, 1976
Scope and Content
Series II, Leases and agreements, covers contracts made between Amtrak and Conrail following the implementation of the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act in February 1976. Subjects cover the operation of rolling stock and other equipment, maintenance issues, management of the Northeast Corridor and Amtrak’s Corridor Service, and the lease and purchase of off-corridor properties.
Box Folder
3 24 Conrail and Amtrak - Amtrak-leased off-corridor properties, 1976 April 1
Box Folder
3 25 Conrail and Amtrak - Amtrak-purchased off-corridor properties, 1976 March 31
Box Folder
3 26 Conrail and Amtrak - Maintenance of commuter equipment service, 1976 April 1
Box Folder
3 27 Conrail and Amtrak - Maintenance of freight equipment service, 1976 April 1
Box Folder
3 28 Conrail and Amtrak - Northeast Corridor management agreement, 1976 April 1
Box Folder
3 29 Conrail and Amtrak - Rolling stock and equipment, 1976 April - May
III. Working files, 1956-1994
Scope and Content
Series III, Working, files include memos, studies, articles, correspondence, and minutes related to the NECIP. Additional files comprise background data on the NECIP as well as statistics used in generating reports, such as the evaluation of safety measures involving track curvatures, rail failures, breaking systems, passenger handling, and electrification systems. Minutes and agendas from the NECIP Committee summarize the status of specific projects, including subcontractors, work in the Baltimore and New York tunnels, and issues with labor. Of note is a 1978 observational study of the Japanese National Railroad’s Shinkansen Line running from Tokyo to Hakata.
Box Folder
3 30 Amtrak Capital Program for NECIP Unfunded Requirements, 1980 April 29 [joint Federal Railroad Administration/Amtrak presentation to the Amtrak Board of Director's NEC Committee]
Box Folder
3 31 Article - "4R", 1976 December [Article covers the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976; photocopy from December 1976 issue of Modern Railroads]
Box Folder
3 32 Background data on NECIP, 1977 January
Box Folder
3 33 Background on the AEM-7 locomotive, undated
Box Folder
3 34 Bridge-painting program - Master schedule, 1977
Box Folder
3 35 Chart re: Eastern Region hi-speed passenger train study, 1966 [shows tracks designated for use of passenger trains with schedules in excess of 80 mph]
Box Folder
3 36 Items Critical to Safety and On-Time Passenger Performance in the Northeast Corridor, 1974 March 28
Box Folder
3 37 Memo re: Penn Central work program proposal to DOT, 1974 March 29
Box Folder
3 38 NEC electrification study, 1980 January [written by Azusa Miura of Japanese National Railways]
Box Folder
3 39 NECIP History and Perspective, 1994 April 21
Box Folder
3 40 Metroliner testing/phase break changeover system, 1978 September 7
Box Folder
4 1 Minutes - Amtrak/Conrail interface related to NECIP, 1977 January
Box Folder
4 2 Minutes and agenda - Northeast Corridor Improvement Project Committee, 1980 October [includes status of NECIP subcontractors]
Box Folder
4 3 Newspaper articles re: Amtrak and NECIP, 1978 September - October
Box Folder
4 4 Northeast Corridor - Important dates, 1974-1975
Box Folder
4 5 Observation of Japanese National Railroad, 1978 April 5
Box Folder
4 6 Passenger handling system, Northeast Corridors 1980s, 1978 August 30 [discussed at a meeting of the Passenger Handling Steerage Group on August 29, 1978]
Box Folder
4 7 Passenger train accidents on Northeast Corridor since May 1, 1971, 1976
Box Folder
4 8 Pennsylvania Railroad - Rules for investigation of rail failures, 1956
Box Folder
4 9 Proposed Northeast Corridor electric traction system, 1977 January
Box Folder
4 10 Speed-tractive effort curve for Amtrak diesel locomotives, 1973 November
Box Folder
4 11 Statement of Asaph H. Hall before the Surface Transportation Committee re: passenger service in the Northeast Corridor, 1975 July 25
Box Folder
4 12 Statement of William R. Carlisle before the ICC re: Penn Central reorganization, undated
Box Folder
4 13 Work statement - Evaluation and assessment of signal/control system equipment and technology, 1976 October 15
Box Folder
4 14 Zero based justification data, 1977 September