Overview: Just like traffic lights on the road, signal systems are essential to the safe and efficient movement of trains along the Corridor. Between New York and Washington, however, the NEC relies on signal systems installed before World War II that are now antiquated and limit capacity. A signal malfunction on one section of the NEC can impede trains movements on other sections of the Corridor – an occurrence all too frequent during the busy rush periods. Amtrak intends to systematically upgrade its signal system between New York and Washington with a modern “high-density” signal design that enables trains to safely operate at higher speed and frequency. This new system would greatly improve reliability and increase capacity for Amtrak and commuter railroads.
At its three centralized train control centers, Amtrak manages the signal systems to dispatch trains Corridor-wide, with the exception of Metro-North’s New Haven Line. These facilities control the movement of both Amtrak and commuter trains, and maintain safe and efficient operations, particularly at congested terminals like Boston South Station and New York Penn Station. Over time, train control programming at these centers has become outdated. Amtrak intends to update control centers in Boston, Wilmington, and New York with the latest in train control technology, making them better equipped to manage today’s traffic and prepared for future increases in service.