Amtrak is set to commence early construction works as part of the Baltimore-Potomac (B&P) Tunnel Replacement Programme on 10 March.

The first project works will begin in the Halethorpe and West Baltimore areas.

These works will cover the replacement of ageing wooden ties with new concrete ties besides installing new rail and concluding track drainage enhancements.

Funded by a grant from the FY 2019 Federal-State Partnership for the State of Good Repair Programme, these project upgrades will facilitate high‐speed operations on all four tracks along this track segment.

The overnight work associated with track and tie replacement will be conducted on Track A from Winans to Bridge interlockings.

Bridge interlocking is situated north of West Baltimore Station, while Winans interlocking is located at the south end of Halethorpe Station.

The project’s first phase works are anticipated to complete early this summer. Additional project work linked to the replacement of an existing turnout in Winans with a new high-speed turnout will be completed in the next phase.

Amtrak capital delivery executive vice president Laura Mason said: “This initial project will directly reduce impacts during later construction phases and maximise the benefits of the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel with higher track speeds and greater system capacity.

“Our partners at the Federal Railroad Administration recognise the importance and urgency of this project and have provided $8m in key funding to help us complete this critical infrastructure work.”

Claimed to be Amtrak’s oldest tunnel on the Northeast Corridor and a single point of failure for both MARC and Amtrak trains, the 1.4-mile tunnel connects Baltimore to Washington, D.C.

This year in January, Amtrak signed the Project Labour Agreement (PLA) with the Baltimore-DC Building and Construction Trades Council for phase one of the tunnel project.

The $6bn programme includes various investment projects to build new bridges, rail systems and track, an ADA-accessible West Baltimore MARC station and the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel.