Public hearing tonight on design for AMTRAK’s new transmission line, electrification system

AMTRAK and representatives from Burns Engineering will hold a public meeting tonight in Radnor Township to discuss an electrification transmission line project, now in the design and planning phases, that will run from the Philadelphia Zoo to Paoli Station.

The 20-mile stretch is part of the Keystone Corridor East rail line, running from Harrisburg to Philadelphia, which has been identified by the Federal Railroad Administration as one of 10 corridors in the country where high-speed rail travel could become a reality.

According to AMTRAK many of the existing 40-50 foot high electrical support structures within the right-of-way between the Zoo and Paoli Station will be replaced. The new towers will be 60-75 feet tall with some reaching 100 feet high at overhead bridges.

While no additional right-of-way or property will be required in order to make these improvements, AMTRAK is urging the public to attend in order to give the carrier feedback on the design, timeline and specifications of the project.

Tonight’s meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the auxiliary gym of the Radnor Middle School. A public information meeting is scheduled for June 6 at Villanova University.

A bit of history and technical background.
The 20-mile stretch of electrification was completed in 1915 and consisted of a 44,000 volt transmission, 11,000 volt traction power and 3,300 volt under-ground signal power feeder system.

In an effort to create a new primary route and increase power transmission reliability and efficiency between the Safe Harbor hydro-electric generating facility on the Susquehanna River and Philadelphia, AMTRAK needs to expand its 138,000 volt transmission network. This new primary route will cut maintenance costs by allowing AMTRAK to focus primary tree trimming efforts on its revenue service lines instead of maintaining its present, 27-mile stretch of off-corridor transmission lines along the SEPTA Cynwyd Line, the formner Norristown Line (now the Schuylkill Bikeway) and the Trenton Cut-off.

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