About the Eastern Transportation Coalition Rail Studies

The Eastern Transportation Coalition is assisting its member states in improving transportation across all modes. Currently, the Coalition has several initiatives underway to assist state DOT’s and rail stakeholders in addressing regional transportation as a system. A partnership of the Departments of Transportation and related authorities and organizations, from Maine to Florida, working together to accelerate improvements in long-distance freight movement and passenger travel.

These projects are the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and Southeast Rail Operations Studies.

The MAROps Phase Studies were part of a continuing initiative of the Eastern Transportation Coalition, five Mid-Atlantic states (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia), and three railroads (Amtrak, CSX, and Norfolk Southern) to understand the impact of rail choke points on rail freight transportation and the economy of the region.   MAROps project activities examined the condition and performance of the regional rail system, beginning with the work and findings conducted under the nationally recognized and acclaimed 2002 Mid-Atlantic Rail Operations Phase I study.  Further studies assessed Interim Benefits of MAROps projects – projecting conditions of the transportation systems “with and without” MAROps project implementation, as well as providing an update of MAROps findings under a Phase II project.

The MAROps program identified and proposed potential implementation of 217 projects, including 110 projects to add mainline capacity and 81 projects to provide doublestack clearance. Identified projects spanned various capital and technological approaches, including expanded terminal capacity, removal or rebuilding of grade crossings, replacement or rehabilitation of outdated bridges and tunnels, and adding new communication and technology systems to improve safety and the coordination of train movements.

As a result of the MAROps project identification collaboration process, the five states and the railroads have incorporated a number of the MAROps projects into their state rail plans, as well as into private sector strategic initiatives such as CSX’s Gateway Corridor Strategic Plan, Norfolk Southern’s Heartland and Crescent Corridors and AMTRAK’s Northeast Corridor Plan.  Agencies and railroads have invested in a number of projects to improve regional rail capacity since the MAROPs Phase I and Phase II studies including funding some of the priority projects outlined in the MAROps studies through federal legislative opportunities (i.e. ARRA, TIGER), and they continue to implement projects today.

The Eastern Transportation Coalition Northeast Rail Operations Studies were intended to lay the groundwork for a regional rail improvement program that would identify and make recommendations to potentially eliminate key rail choke points— physical, operational, and information-system—in the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, thereby increasing freight-rail and passenger-rail service capacity and relieving congestion on the rail, highway, and air systems. The studies identified the key historical factors and emerging trends that impact the efficiency of the system and the ability of the region’s railroads to attract and accommodate additional passengers and freight. Through the completion of interviews with key regional rail stakeholders and the compilation of a regional profile describing key transportation, industry, and public policy trends affecting rail transportation in the region, the study identified several key physical chokepoints, operational constraints, and institutional issues affecting freight and passenger rail in the Northeast. Over twenty individual chokepoints, constraints, and issues that most significantly impact rail operations in the region were identified and described. This information as provided to the states, was intended to facilitate discussions on potential passenger and freight rail improvements, within the Northeast states, across the Northeast region and in consideration of the region’s linkage to the national passenger and freight rail transportation systems.

NEROps Technical Memo

NEROps Executive Summary

NEROps Final Report

NEROps Appendices

The Southeast Rail Operations Studies (SEROps) represented an effort by the Coalition and its member agencies in the Southeast to further complete the rail picture in the Coalition region by identifying and describing key rail issues, activities, and initiatives in the Southeastern states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida).  Identifying and describing the rail issues, activities, and initiatives affecting these states, SEROPs was intended to help states to facilitate the identification of choke points and institutional issues in the Southeast.  The regional freight flows within and thru the Southeast Region, led the Coalition states to include the states of Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee,  Alabama and  Mississippi.   Completion of this SEROps study was intended to assist states with a more comprehensive understanding of freight and passenger rail trends, issues, and constraints in the entire Coalition region, as well as the larger Southeast freight/rail region.  The SEROps Studies further emphasized the importance of rail to the states’ and Coalition region’s transportation system  as well as the national transportation system and was intended to serve as a resource to assist states in  multi-state, regional and national transportation freight policy discussions.

Southeast Rail Phase II

Southeast Rail Phase I

  • Executive Summary and Full Report

Mid-Atlantic Rail Operation Studies

Southeast Rail Operation Studies

Northeast Rail Operations Studies