Skip to main content
Service Alert:June 18, 2024 07:00 PMDelays at New York Penn Station

January 30, 2020

Amtrak Begins Rehab Project at Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel

A critical step until tunnel is replaced

BALTIMORE – Amtrak continues to advance efforts to improve infrastructure along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) by launching a pilot project focused on rehabilitating the 147-year-old Baltimore & Potomac (B&P) Tunnel. The project will undertake preventive maintenance work that is critical to keep the tunnel in good working condition. Plans are in progress to build a new tunnel to replace the existing tunnel under the City of Baltimore.

Work will begin in early February. Crews will replace 1,000 feet of track slab and block ties and renew track inside the tunnel that have deteriorated due to age and water infiltration. This work will take place over eight weekends, with minimal service impacts. This pilot project will allow Amtrak’s Engineering Department to evaluate viable options to improve the reliability of the B&P Tunnel.

“This preventive maintenance work is necessary, but it is not a silver bullet,” Amtrak VP, Chief Engineer Gery Williams said. “Due to its age along with growing ridership demand, full replacement of the tunnel, with a new four track tunnel system improving reliability, capacity and connectivity, is the only long-term solution.”

The two-track tunnel, which opened in 1873, is located between the West Baltimore MARC and Baltimore Penn stations and is used by Amtrak, Maryland’s MARC Commuter trains and Norfolk Southern Railway freight trains.

Due to its age, the tunnel is approaching the end of its useful life. Its obsolete design creates a low-speed bottleneck on this high-traffic section of the Northeast Corridor. In 2017, after the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the Federal Railroad Administration issued a Record of Decision for a new four-track tunnel system to replace the existing B&P Tunnel.

Amtrak is currently undertaking a series of design modifications that will reduce the overall capital cost of the project for the new tunnels as well as mitigating certain constituency and neighborhood concerns identified through the EIS. This is a major back-log project estimated at $5 billion.

Amtrak will continue to work with its partners, including federal, state and local stakeholders, to finalize a financing plan. In the interim Amtrak will continue to advance the design phase past 30%. The new tunnels are a 12 to 15-year project.

The NEC is the busiest railroad in North America, with approximately 2,200 Amtrak, commuter and freight trains operating over some portion of the electrified Washington-Boston route each day.

More information on B&P Tunnel is available on the Ready to Build web site.

For More Information

Kimberly Woods
Amtrak Contact
202 906.3860

About Amtrak®

Amtrak offers a more comfortable and convenient travel experience, plenty of leg room and no middle seat. With our state and commuter partners, we move people, the economy and the nation forward, carrying more than 30 million Amtrak customers for the past nine years. Amtrak operates more than 300 trains daily, connecting more than 500 destinations in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces, and reaches 400 additional destinations via connecting bus routes. We are committed to operating a safe, environmentally efficient and fiscally responsible business, which is essential to our future growth. Book travel, check train status, access your eTicket and more through the Amtrak app. Learn more at