Digest: Judge rules builders can quit Maryland Purple Line project

News Wire Digest for Sept. 11: Amtrak service disrupted to, from Washington D.C.; plans announced for New Haven station rehab and redevelopment
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Friday morning rail news:

Judge rules construction group can quit Purple Line light rail project

The consortium overseeing construction of Maryland’s Purple Line light rail project will be allowed to quit in mid-project over disputes with the state over cost overruns, a state judge ruled on Thursday. The Washington Post reports Judge Jeffrey M. Geller rejected the state’s request for an injunction keeping the Purple Line Transit Partners on the job while negotiations continued, saying the state has “no right to contest the termination” of the contract. A spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Transportation said the state remains committed to finishing the project, but would not say if it would proceed with a suit against the Transit Partners alledging breach of contract. The Transit Partners said they remained open to further negotiations. The consortium announced its plans to quit in June over more than $700 million in cost overruns stemming from construction delays — many resulting from legal challenges to the project — and design changes [see “Builders file plan to dissolve partnership building Maryland’s Purple Line,” News Wire Digest, June 24, 2020].

Flooding shuts down Amtrak near Washington D.C.
For the second time this week, Amtrak service was completely shut down to a portion of the Northeast Corridor. This time, the disruption came at the southern end of the corridor, as flooding halted service in and out of Washington Union Station as of about 5:40 p.m. EDT Thursday, and was not fully restored until about 8 a.m. today, according to the Amtrak Northeast Twitter feed. Trains may be delayed between Washington and New Carrollton, Md., because of ongoing speed restrictions. Flooding also disrupted service in the Philadelphia. MARC commuter trains were also affected, with some cancellations on both the Penn and Brunswick lines. On Tuesday evening, the corridor was shut down between New York and New Haven because of a derailment [see “Digest: Amtrak service restored on Northeast Corridor after freight derailment,” Sept. 9, 2020].

New Haven, Connecticut reach agreement to renovate 100-year-old Union Station
A Thursday ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the Union Station in New Haven, Conn., featured announcement of a letter of intent to spend $65 million to renovate and develop the facility used by Amtrak and commuter railroads. WTNH-TV reports the letter of intent will establish a new lease and funding agreement between the Connecticut Department of Transportation and City of New Haven, with plans to revamp the basement, first, and second floors to allow new retail space, as well as improvement to allow future use of upper station floors and public restrooms. The station, commissioned by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, was designed by architect Cass Gilbert, best known for his 57-story neo-Gothic Woolworth Building in Manhattan.

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