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Underway and Upcoming Rail and Rapid Transit Projects, U.S. and Canada

Alex Carrick
Underway and Upcoming Rail and Rapid Transit Projects, U.S. and Canada

At different moments in time, checking through ConstructConnect’s extensive database of construction projects will reveal heavier weightings of certain types of work.

Underway and Upcoming Rail and Rapid Transit Projects, U.S. and Canada Graphic

Sometimes, it’s mixed-use projects (e.g., offices, condos and hotels in combination) that stand out. On other occasions, there can be a treasure chest of work that is institutional in nature (e.g., educational or medical facilities).

Several years ago, there was a lengthy list of stadium projects to note. Most of that arena activity has since proceeded.

As 2018 prepares to hand over the torch to 2019, there is a type-of-structure category that is appearing more prominently − transit infrastructure.

This article will catalogue railroad and rapid transit projects that have been recent start-ups or are in the planning stage in the U.S. and Canada.

The following condenses material from the ‘Leads’ module within ConstructConnect’s Insight online platform.

(Also view, "Infographic: U.S. rail & rapid transit projects".)

U.S. Underway ($s USD):

  • Salesforce Transbay Transit Center − Mission Street, San Francisco, $2.4 billion, ground broken in 2008, nearing completion, includes 1 million square-foot transportation hub;
  • Green Line Light Rail Transit Extension − Eden Prairie/Minnetonka/Minneapolis, Minnesota, $2.0 billion, 14.5 miles of double track, late 2018 start;
  • Purple Line Light Rail Project − Bethesda, Maryland, $2.0 billion, 16 miles and 21 stations, ground broken in 2017 and completion target 2022;
  • Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Expansion Project – Floral Park, New York, $1.8 billion, ground broken in September 2018;
  • The Brightline, All Aboard Florida/Miami Central Transportation Hub – Miami, $1.5 billion, ground broken 2014;
  • Green Line Expansion – Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, $1.3 billion, seven new stations, ground broken in 2018.

U.S. Upcoming ($s USD):

  • Texas Central Railway – ‘Bullet’ train between Dallas and Houston, $15.0 billion, 240 miles of track, 3 stations, (Dallas, Brazos Valley and Houston), design/build contractors have been assigned;
  • Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail – D.C. and Maryland, $15.0 billion, proposed superconducting magnetic levitation train, target start date 2020;
  • Gateway Tunnel Project – to accommodate rail traffic under Hudson River, between Newark N.J. and Penn Station N.Y., $13.0 billion, also includes renovation of an existing bridge, financing and environmental issues remain to be resolved;
  • North-South Rail Link Feasibility Study – proposes tunnel deep underground between Boston’s two main railroad stations, goal is to speed up traffic entering and leaving the city, $12.0 billion, target start in 2024;
  • Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan −  transit and other projects atop 88 acres of rail yards along Schuykill River, Philadelphia, $6.5 billion, target start in 2020;
  • Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit – North Carolina, from southwest Chapel Hill to east Durham, 18 miles, $2.5 billion, target start 2020 at earliest;
  • Brightline Express Project (2nd Phase), Florida East Coast Railroad – Miami to Orlando rail system, $3.0 billion, 235 miles from West Palm Beach to Orlando’s International Airport, Brightline/All Aboard Florida also has plans for a high-speed rail line Tampa to Orlando;
  • Northern Colorado Commuter Rail – new commuter rail line to connect northern Colorado to Denver metro area, $2.0 billion, 94 stations, segments of double tracking, presently on hold;
  • West Seattle Link Extension/Sound Transit – West Seattle to downtown, $1.8 billion, with transit primarily on an elevated guideway, will include rail-only crossing of the Duwamish River, in long-term planning stage, start target late 2020s;
  • Honolulu Rail Transit Project –city center transit line extension, $1.6 billion, 4.1 miles and 8 stations, will possibly adopt Public Private Partnership (P3) delivery model;
  • Bottineau Light Rail Transit Project/Blue Line Extension – Minneapolis, $1.5 billion, between Mall of America and downtown, need for corridor sharing agreement with BNSF Railway;
  • Purple Line Extension Section 3 – Los Angeles, $1.2 billion, 2.6 miles of track;

(Also view, "Infographic: Canada’s rail & rapid transit projects".)

Canada Underway ($s CAD):

  • Réseau Électrique Métropolitain (REM) – Montreal, $6.3 billion, a 67-kilometer dual track automated LRT system, 30 passenger stations, will link downtown with outlying regions including the airport, ground was broken February 2018;
  • Confederation Line Extension Project – Ottawa, $3.6 billion, multi-phase work stretching across an additional 49 kilometers and adding nearly 40 stations, ground was broken in 2017;
  • Eglinton Crosstown LRT Stations – Toronto, $2.2 billion, 19 kilometers (10 underground) and 25 stations, ground was broken in 2016;

Canada Upcoming ($s CAD):

  • Green Line LRT – Calgary, $4.6 billion, multi-phase construction of LRT system between North Pointe and downtown, 40-kilometer addition to existing system, start target 2020;
  • Surrey Skytrain Expo Line Extension – Greater Vancouver Regional District, $2.9 billion, King George Station to Langley, 8 new stations;
  • Valley Line West LRT, Stage 2 – Edmonton, $2.6 billion, 14-kilometer extension from downtown to Lewis Farms, 14 street-level stops and 2 raised stations (1 at West Edmonton Mall), planned as a P3 project;
  • Finch West LRT Project – Toronto, $2.5 billion, to run between Humber College and new Finch West station on Spadina Subway route; 11.2 kilometers and 18 passenger stations, start target 2019;
  • Newfoundland-Labrador Tunnel – below sea floor of the Strait of Bell Isle, $1.7 billion, a single-rail tunnel for 18 kilometers, possibly a P3 project, feasibility study stage;
  • Extension of Orange (Line 2) Subway Route – between Montreal and Laval, $1.5 billion, 10.1 kilometers and 8 stations, start target 2023;
  • Hurontario LRT Project – Mississauga from Port Credit to Brampton, $1.4 billion, 20 kilometers and 22 surface stops, pre-design stage;
  • Sheppard East LRT Expansion – Toronto, $1.0 billion, from Don Mills station to Morningside Avenue, 13 kilometers, on hold

With much talk of green, purple and orange subway lines, the topic of rapid transit work is certainly colorful enough.

Not mentioned above is the high-speed rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The center portion of construction, through the San Fernando Valley, is underway. But there’s doubt whether the whole project will be completed. The budget has ballooned to $77 billion.

Unlike his predecessor, Jerry Brown, who was fully committed to the project, new California Governor, Gavin Newsom, has expressed some ambivalence.

Also, in a nod towards science fiction, there are proposals for a couple of ‘hyperloop’ connections – Miami-to-Orlando and Dallas-to-Houston. In a hyperloop, an electromagnetic propulsion system hurtles passenger and freight cars through a vacuum tube at hundreds of miles per hour.

As prototypes, their projected costs would also be in the tens of billions of dollars.  

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