Century-old rail tunnels beneath the Hudson River have at most two decades of service remaining and Amtrak lacks funding to replace them


The end may be near for the New York region’s cross-harbor rail tunnels, with no good alternative in sight.

“I’m being told we got something less than 20 years before we have to shut one or two down,” said Amtrak C.E.O. Joseph Boardman at the Regional Plan Association’s conference last week at the Waldorf Astoria. “Something less than 20. I don’t know if that something less than 20 is seven, or some other number. But to build two new ones, you’re talking seven to nine years to deliver, if we all decided today that we could do it.”

Tom Wright, the Regional Plan Association’s executive director, described Boardman’s remarks as “a big shock.”

“I’ve been hearing abstractly people at Amtrak and other people at New Jersey Transit say for years the tunnels are over 100 years old and we have to be worried about them,” he said. “To actually have Joe put something concrete on the table, less than 20 years … Within my office, there was a level of, ‘Wow, this is really serious.’”

Our “Good Ol’ Buddie” Governor Christie, surfaces again
Construction is under way on a concrete tube beneath a massive West Side development, which could someday serve as a vital link to badly-needed rail tunnels in the Hudson River.


2 thoughts on “Century-old rail tunnels beneath the Hudson River have at most two decades of service remaining and Amtrak lacks funding to replace them”

  1. Modern budgeting regimens typically produce a “forgetting of details” of prior projects and plans… just saying what results are produced over recent times: we tend to forget there was an earlier methodology, an earlier cost basis, an earlier 5/25/50 year plan, one which, in this case, placed this project into service. As luck would have it, the engineering disciplines of the early 20th century produced a work that lasted a phenominal 100 years. Try repeating that goal today (reference the “Big Dig” in Boston)! Oh wait… the article is presenting the concept that there isn’t enough need/revenue/budget/interest/time in fixing/updating/replacing this existing structure. May the lowest bidder win!


  2. The original tunnels were built with private money. The Pennsylvania Railroad was the largest corporation in the world in 1910 and had more resources than the Federal government. It was all about conmpetition. The New York Central RR had a direct route from NYC to Chicago while the PRR required passengers to ferry across the Hudson to reach NYC. It was good old American competition and private will that got the tunnels built. Then government took over the railroads…..

    Liked by 1 person

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