The Northeast Corridor (NEC) is the most heavily traveled passenger rail corridor in the United States, passing through and serving North America’s most densely populated urban/suburban regions between Washington, D.C. and Boston, MA. Traffic on the NEC includes freight trains, regional inter-city trains, commuter service provided by local transit agencies, and the Amtrak Acela Express high-speed trains. Amtrak retained Acentech to continuously measure, second-by-second, for a 48 hour period the airborne noise and/or ground-borne vibration at 89 residential locations adjacent to the corridor in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
The processed measurements provided detailed results for each train as well as the baseline ambient noise without trains. Acentech assessed noise and vibration impacts based on criteria published by the Federal Railroad Administration for forecasting and assessing future impacts from proposed high-speed rail projects.
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) completed electrification of the NEC main line by extending electric traction between Boston and New Haven, CT. Electrification of the Boston to New Haven section of the NEC main line (Project Electrification) was completed with the extension to Boston of the overhead catenary system that previously ended at New Haven. Acela high-speed rail service, utilizing electric tilting train sets and Amtrak’s existing equipment fleet, now operates between Boston and Washington, D.C. with significantly reduced travel times.
Acentech concluded that Amtrak train operations along the Northeast Corridor mainline between Boston and New Haven following electrification are not exceeding applicable noise and vibration criteria and are not causing additional noise and vibration impacts. Acentech recommended no additional noise and vibration mitigation is warranted.