Getting from the District to New York City could get a lot easier and quicker under a plan unveiled Monday by rail operator Amtrak.
Amtrak is proposing to build a six-track, high-speed rail station under Union Station in D.C. The addition is aimed at increasing the rail station's capacity and could lay the groundwork for a 94-minute commute from the District to the Big Apple by 2030. The concept is part of a more ambitious push by Amtrak to increase capacity and speeds from Boston to D.C., which Amtrak considers among the busiest rail corridors in the country.
Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm said the underground proposal at Union Station in D.C. is just conceptual at this point. That means it is not yet funded and is just one of several big-ticket improvements Amtrak is planning.
"For the Northeast Corridor to expand and grow, we need more room," Kulm said. "Our business between New York and Washington is huge, and it's been growing." Kulm said Amtrak is expecting and planning to double its high-speed rail service, which includes its speedy Acela Express trains, by 2020.
The release of Monday's plan was an update to a May 2010 report Amtrak released called The Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan. As part of the $787 billion stimulus, Amtrak received $1.3 billion to make improvements throughout its system.
In the near term, Amtrak is already in the midst a $450 million improvement to the 24-mile stretch from Trenton to New Brunswick in New Jersey that would allow trains to reach speeds of 160 miles per hour. That compares with speeds of about 135 miles per hour for high-speed rail trains heading from New York to D.C. and of about 150 miles per hour from New York to Boston.