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NEC FUTURE
Announcement:
Record of Decision Available

The FRA is pleased to announce the release of the Record of Decision (ROD) for NEC FUTURE. The ROD completes the Tier 1 environmental review process and describes the Selected Alternative that will guide future investments on the NEC. The Selected Alternative reflects the feedback received on the Tier 1 Final EIS and Preferred Alternative from many stakeholders, agencies, organizations, and individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the Record of Decision for NEC FUTURE?
  • What is the Selected Alternative?
  • Does the Record of Decision lead to construction?
Tier 1 Record of Decision
Selected Alternative

The FRA has selected a corridor-wide vision for the NEC that encompasses improvements to grow the role of rail within the transportation system of the Northeast. The Selected Alternative prioritizes a corridor-wide commitment to the existing NEC and brings it to a state of good repair as well as provides the additional capacity and service enhancements necessary to address passenger rail needs through 2040 and beyond.

Record of Decision Highlights Flipbook

A quick look at the highlights of the Record of Decision and the Selected Alternative.

Can You Relate?
Passenger Perspectives
Select an NEC passenger below to learn more about how the Selected Alternative could affect their lives.
Chris

Chris

Baseball Fan

Lives in Newark, DE

Travels to Baltimore for baseball games

Improvement Highlights:
New Market / Station Frequency Travel Time Reliability Integrated Operations

Chris is a Baltimore Orioles fan who lives in Newark, Delaware. He loves taking his daughter to the game and watching his favorite team in person, but traveling to Camden Yards is not convenient for him. Traffic congestion and high parking costs make driving a hassle. Although Amtrak does provide service to Newark, it is limited to 1 to 2 trains a day in each direction. His best rail option is to backtrack from Newark to Wilmington on SEPTA, catch an Amtrak train to Baltimore, and then take the light rail shuttle to Camden Yards. Chris’ father, who lives in Alexandria, VA, sometimes joins him for home games, but this trip is equally inconvenient.

Selected Alternative: With a new integrated service approach for the NEC that provides greater frequencies and conveniently links Intercity and Regional rail services, Chris can travel directly from Newark to Baltimore. This new service type runs every 15 minutes and does not require reserved seating, which makes it easy for Chris to catch the train without having to reserve his ticket in advance. In Baltimore, he makes an easy connection to the light rail shuttle to Camden Yards. And with more regular, frequent service, he and his daughter can easily stay for the whole game. It’s also easy now for Chris' father to join him for a game. They meet at Baltimore Penn Station and, on their way, reminisce about when Chris hit his first home run in Little League.

Judy

Judy

Business Representative

Lives in Port Chester, NY

Travels to airport for international flight

Improvement Highlights:
New Market / Station Frequency Travel Time Reliability Integrated Operations

Judy lives in Port Chester, New York, and travels to London on business each month. Today, her most practical option is to fly from JFK. This means driving to the airport and paying the high parking cost, or an expensive cab ride. While transit options exist, they require multiple connections and long travel times.

Selected Alternative: With better NEC connections across the New York metropolitan area, Judy now has convenient transit access to both Newark International Airport and JFK. She uses the new Cross Westchester station on the NEC, where she now has a one-seat ride with frequent service to the Newark Airport rail station, as well as faster service into Manhattan to connect to JFK.

Joe

Joe

Business Manager

Lives in a suburb of Boston, MA

Travels to New York City for business meetings

Improvement Highlights:
New Market / Station Frequency Travel Time Reliability Integrated Operations

Joe lives outside of Boston and regularly travels to New York on business. Today, he either travels by train or plane. He makes this choice depending on when his meeting starts and the train schedule.

Selected Alternative: Joe continues to travel by train or plane, depending on his meeting and train schedule. On his rail trip to New York, he now benefits from improvements in capacity, speed, and reliability on the sections between Boston and Providence, and from New Haven to New York. He closely follows a planning study being conducted by the States of Connecticut and Rhode Island, in coordination with the FRA and other stakeholders, to consider options for additional capacity between New Haven and Providence. He attends a public meeting for the project and voices his opinion about the importance of rail investment.

Student couple

Amita and Mark

Graduate Students

Live in New Brunswick, NJ

Travel to school and new job in Philadelphia, PA

Improvement Highlights:
New Market / Station Frequency Travel Time Reliability Integrated Operations

Amita and Mark live in New Brunswick, NJ. They are both graduate students at Rutgers University. Mark is finishing his last semester and is offered the position of his dreams in Philadelphia. Amita still has another year and a half before she completes her program. Train service from New Brunswick to Philadelphia is a reverse commute on NJ TRANSIT and SEPTA with time options and takes her almost two hours each way. The drive from New Brunswick to Philadelphia is an hour and a half, but often longer due to I-95 traffic. They are considering living apart while Amita finishes school.

Selected Alternative:  With a new integrated service approach for the NEC that provides greater frequencies and conveniently links Intercity and Regional rail services, service is improved between the two commuter markets in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. . Amita and Mark decide to move to North Brunswick. Mark can commute by train to Philadelphia in 40 minutes, and has many train times to choose from. . They put the money they would have used renting a second apartment towards a down payment on a house.

Ana

Ana

Grandmother

Lives in Iselin, NJ

Travels to visit daughter in Holyoke, MA

Improvement Highlights:
New Market / Station Frequency Travel Time Reliability Integrated Operations

Ana lives in Iselin, New Jersey and is retired. Her daughter, Marta, lives in Holyoke, MA. Currently it is difficult for Ana to get to Massachusetts to visit Marta. She prefers not to drive long distances, and her best option by public transportation is to take a bus or NJ TRANSIT from the Metropark station to New York City, then take a bus from the Port Authority terminal or a train from Penn Station New York to Springfield, MA, where Marta picks her up. Because of the limited train schedule (only 2 to 3 trains per day that offer a one-seat, direct connection) and fare, she typically chooses the bus. Despite her desire to see Marta, Ana rarely makes this trip.

Selected Alternative: Now that trains run every half hour from Penn Station New York to New Haven, CT with greater fare options, Ana chooses to take the train to New Haven and connect to the improved Hartford/Springfield Line to continue her trip to Springfield. She buys a convenient combined ticket for her trip from Metropark to Springfield. As a result, Ana visits her daughter more often.

Dawn

Dawn

Soldier

Lives in Fort Meade, MD

Travels home to visit family in Coatesville, PA

Improvement Highlights:
New Market / Station Frequency Travel Time Reliability Integrated Operations

Dawn is a soldier stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland. Prior to her service, she lived in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. On her weekends off, she likes to travel home and visit family and friends. Since she does not own a car, she takes the Fort Meade shuttle to the Odenton rail station, where she catches a MARC train to BWI, followed by an Amtrak train to Philadelphia. She then has a long wait before transferring to the Keystone Corridor service to Coatesville. Although she misses her family and friends dearly, she rarely makes the trip, due to the complicated logistics.

Selected Alternative: With a new integrated service approach for the NEC that provides greater frequencies and conveniently links Intercity and Regional rail services, Dawn can take a train directly from Odenton to Philadelphia, where she makes a convenient transfer to the Keystone Corridor service. Her wait time at Philadelphia 30th Street station is now only a few minutes.

Tony

Tony

Independent Sales Rep

Lives in central New Jersey

Travels to airport for domestic flight

Improvement Highlights:
New Market / Station Frequency Travel Time Reliability Integrated Operations

Tony is an independent sales representative who lives in central New Jersey. He travels throughout the United States to meet with customers. Today, he has a choice to fly from either Newark International Airport or Philadelphia International Airport, and he likes having the option to choose the most economical fare from either airport. He can take a Regional rail train from the Hamilton, NJ, station to the Newark Airport; however he often has a long wait for the train after his flight lands. Coordinating his flight and the train schedule is challenging. However, when he drives to the Philadelphia Airport, he is faced with tremendous congestion on I-95 during peak periods, as well as high parking costs at the airport.

Selected Alternative: With a new Intercity station at the Philadelphia Airport, Tony now has convenient rail access to either airport from Trenton. The trip time is about a half hour either way. With more regular rail service available from both airports, Tony does not have to look at a train schedule after a long flight home. There will be a train coming every 15-30 minutes throughout the day. He can now choose the lowest airfare without worrying about the connections from the airport to his home.

Leon

Leon

Commuter

Lives in Edison, NJ

Travels to New York City daily for work

Improvement Highlights:
New Market / Station Frequency Travel Time Reliability Integrated Operations

Leon lives in Edison, New Jersey and commutes to New York. His train is very crowded and is often delayed. His commute is even more challenging now that he has to pick up his two-year old daughter from day care. He has to build these delays into his schedule, and leave work earlier than he would like.

Selected Alternative: With the investment in northern New Jersey, including Hunter Flyover and Portal Bridges, two new tunnels under the Hudson River, and improvements at Penn Station New York, Leon's commute becomes more reliable. He also has more frequent trains to choose from, access to express trains, and options for a one-seat ride. He can stay at work a bit longer, knowing that he will not have a long wait between each train, and that he will get to his daughter's day care in time. His boss notices, and he receives a promotion.

Pulse-Hub Animation

This video shows a concept for coordinated train scheduling, known as a "pulse-hub", one of the enhanced service concepts recommended in the Selected Alternative. Multiple trains converge on a station, dwell simultaneously for a period of time while passengers transfer between trains, and then depart toward their various destinations. This example shows a potential pulse-hub operation at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station.

This video does not contain sound