Amtrak has reached the Project Labour Agreement (PLA) with the Baltimore-DC Building and Construction Trades Council for the first phase of the Baltimore-Potomac (B&P) Tunnel Replacement Programme.

To support the PLA, Amtrak joined Maryland officials to execute the Project Kickoff Agreement with the State of Maryland. The event was also attended by US President Joe Biden.

The PLA will enable the replacement of the Warwick Bridge, which is expected to serve as a model for other Amtrak projects.

Baltimore-DC Building and Construction Trades Council is a local affiliate of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU).

The PLA is said to be the first agreement under a 2021 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Amtrak and NABTU. The MoU was signed for covering Amtrak’s major civil engineering projects, including the remaining phases of the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program.

Maryland intends to provide $450m in state funding for this key infrastructure project, which covers the construction of the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel.

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Amtrak aims to provide around $750m for the project. The full funding is being achieved under the Federal Railroad Administration’s Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Programme.

Upon completion of the project, the speed of the trains will be increased from 30mph to up to 110mph, helping commuters to travel fast between Washington, DC, and New Jersey.

Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said: “Replacing this Civil War-era B&P tunnel will nearly triple train capacity on this critical section of the Northeast Corridor for the nine million annual Amtrak and MARC customers who rely on this vital connection.”

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.

Designed to connect Baltimore’s Penn Station to points south, the 1.4-mile tunnel will feature two new high-capacity tubes for electrified passenger trains.