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February 27, 2024

Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program Update: Initial Demolition Begins

Top 3 Things to Know

  • Amtrak’s Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program has entered the demolition phase; major construction activities will begin later in 2024.
  • Our commitment to consistent and transparent community updates continues with a preview of the program’s next steps and opportunities to stay informed throughout construction.
  • We’re kicking off a series of bimonthly meetings throughout 2024 at various locations along the program corridor. The first meeting will take place on March 13.

By Amtrak Assistant Vice President, Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program, Luigi Rosa & Senior Director, Community Engagement, Danelle Hunter

One of the largest transportation infrastructure investments on the East Coast has begun demolition in Baltimore. Amtrak’s $6 billion Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program has entered a new phase, along with major construction activities set to begin later this year.


Over the past decade, Amtrak and our state and federal partners at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) have conducted hundreds of outreach engagements with residents and community organizations to guide program development, share updates, and discuss future activities.

Today, as the construction and community engagement leaders for this critical infrastructure investment, we’re continuing our commitment to consistent and transparent community updates with a preview of the program’s next steps and opportunities to stay informed throughout construction.

Many Baltimoreans are familiar with the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program, which has been developed, reviewed and refined over the years. This transformative transportation investment is funded in large part by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, thanks to President Joe Biden, Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Representative Kweisi Mfume and others in Congress, along with support from other elected officials including Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott.

The overall program will modernize and transform a 10-mile section of the Northeast Corridor, America’s busiest passenger railroad. It will unlock the biggest rail bottleneck between Washington, D.C. and New Jersey, improving reliability and travel times for millions of people while also upgrading local infrastructure in the West Baltimore area, like replacing the Edmondson and Lafayette Street Bridges.

The centerpiece is a new tunnel named after civil rights leader and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, a Maryland native. We’re also building a new ADA-accessible West Baltimore MARC station, five new roadway and railroad bridges, new rail infrastructure (modern tracks, new catenary wires for electric power, etc.) and more.

Another important aspect includes creating thousands of local, good paying construction jobs that will provide opportunities to economically disadvantaged communities in the project area, thanks to local hire agreements and training investments. And Amtrak has committed $50 million specifically for a Community Investment Program that will fund projects in six dedicated categories, including community and workforce development, parks and recreation, and more.

Two local small businesses have mobilized crews and equipment and begun demolition for the first of 47 residential and commercial properties that have been acquired by Amtrak. The contractors are experienced in performing demolition work and familiar with all applicable rules and regulations in Baltimore City. They will also install fencing lined with screening fabric around each site. Each contractor has a detailed work plan, including how adjacent properties will be protected during this process.

Two cranes conducting initial demolition of a building to prepare for the Frederick Douglass Tunnel ProgramAlthough the demolition work has been thoughtfully planned and coordinated, there is always the possibility of an unexpected concern that may arise. We encourage community members to reach out with questions or concerns by emailing or calling the project team at (443) 423-1115.

We have also awarded major construction contracts for the new tunnel and the “Southern Approach,” which includes building the previously mentioned new rail infrastructure that will be located south of the new tunnel. We expect major construction to begin later this year, likely in the summer timeframe.

To keep community members informed about demolition activities and other upcoming major construction, we will be hosting bimonthly meetings throughout 2024, at various locations along the program corridor. The first bimonthly meeting will take place on March 13 at Carver Vocational-Technical High School.

There will also be a separate Community Open House this Thursday, February 29, at Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School, where residents are encouraged to provide a public comments on exterior designs for noise barriers and the Southern Ventilation Facility. To learn more, download the flyer or register here.

To stay up to date on the latest program information, we encourage you to sign up for the program newsletter, visit, or invite us to speak at an upcoming event in your neighborhood.

We appreciate your patience as we begin this important work and look forward to seeing you at a future meeting!

For More Information

W. Kyle Anderson
Amtrak Contact
202 906.3860

About Amtrak®

For more than 50 years, Amtrak has connected America and modernized train travel. Offering a safe, environmentally efficient way to reach more than 500 destinations across 46 states and parts of Canada, Amtrak provides travelers with an experience that sets a new standard. Book travel, check train status, access your eTicket and more through the Amtrak app. Learn more at and connect with us on X, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About Amtrak’s Historic Infrastructure Investments

Amtrak is leading a new era of passenger rail, investing in modern trains, enhanced stations, new tunnels and bridges, and other critical infrastructure upgrades. We’re enhancing the customer experience across the country, improving safety and reliability, driving economic development, reducing trip times, expanding capacity, advancing accessibility and promoting a more sustainable future.

Traditionally known as a passenger rail operator, today Amtrak is now a major construction company executing the largest capital program in Amtrak’s history. With over $50 billion of capital investments in planning and development, these historic investments are made possible by the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) enacted in 2021.