Royal Junction Siding

NNEPRA Project
Status Update: 

Construction Progress Update and Schedule Projection - November 2018

The Project is continuing to progress, with ongoing track construction and signal infrastructure equipment installation by Pan Am Railways personnel. The Earth Work & Drainage portion of the Project has been completed by D&C Construction, of Waterboro, ME.  The following is a brief summary of work elements completed on the Project to date, as well as a projection of what to expect in the coming months. 

Pan Am track crews have constructed over 11,000 track feet of skeletonized track of the approximately 21,000 track feet required.  All of the pre-panelized Special Track Work turnout packages manufactured by Unitrac have been delivered to the Project. The prefabricated #20 left hand track crossover was delivered to Royal Junction during the week of June 25th, with the two #20 equilaterals designated for connections to the Mainline track at the east and west ends of the new passing siding were delivered in October 2018.

A new steel bridge span supporting wooden track timbers was constructed utilizing the existing granite abutments at Bridge 11.19 in the same location a former track passed over the small stream in Cumberland. The new rail has been fastened to the bridge, and a conductor walkway with hand rail constructed.

Over 16,000 tons of crushed stone ballast has been placed and compacted as roadbed for the new track assembly and will be followed up with another 8,000 ton to fill tie cribs before final track surfacing is complete. Five drainage culverts were extended, and one stone box culvert was replaced with a new 36” HDPE pipe. Over 250 cubic yards of stone Rip Rap, along with over 4,500 cubic yards of Erosion Control Mix has been placed to stabilize existing slopes as erosion protection.    

New 80’ track panels as part of the second track have been installed in the five roadway grade crossings within the Project limits (Woodville Rd, Muirfield Rd, Rte. 9, Tuttle Rd, Greeley Rd).   Signal crews have relocated all existing grade crossing light and gate equipment at the five roadway crossings maintain public safety throughout.

Approximately 90% of all underground conduit installation and cabling connecting the new signal interlocking locations has been completed by Pan Am, along with the installation of all the foundations that will support the new signaling equipment.

 

Pan Am anticipates continuing to construct track throughout this Fall 2018 and intends to keep working until the weather makes it too difficult this winter.  Work will resume in the Spring, with full Project completion is anticipated by late Spring 2019.

 

Project Overview

Royal Junction Siding will provide additional track capacity necessary to enable more frequent and efficient daily operation of Downeaster trains and freight trains between Brunswick and Boston.  This passing siding removes a key bottleneck for the Downeaster that will create more options for the travelling public while improving the financial and operational efficiency of the service.

Royal Junction Siding with be constructed within the mainline railroad corridor owned by Pan Am Railways.  It will begin just east of CPF-185 (Royal Junction) and extend 21,700 feet west to a point approximately 1,000 feet east of MP- 189.   Generally, this second track will be installed between Field Road in Falmouth and extend just past Greely Road in Cumberland. 

The key operational benefit of the capacity gained from constructing the passing siding is that it increases the potential for trains operating on this existing stretch of single track to pass in opposite directions, as well as allow a faster passenger train to overtake a slower freight headed in the same direction.  This change improves the overall capacity of the track and allows for an increase in the frequency of Downeaster service connecting the communities of Freeport and Brunswick to the other Downeaster stations including Portland, Old Orchard Beach, Saco/Biddeford, Wells, Maine; Dover, Durham, and Exeter, New Hampshire; Haverhill, Woburn and Boston, Massachusetts.

The Amtrak Downeaster currently makes ten one-way revenue-generating trips each day between Portland and Boston, yet only six of those trips currently extend to Freeport and Brunswick. The number of trips is limited because most of the connecting railroad is only single track, constraining the back and forth movement of trains along that segment.  

The existing limited frequency of Downeaster service to Freeport and Brunswick restricts the potential Downeaster ridership and revenue growth along the I-295 corridor, one of the busiest traffic corridors in the State of Maine. The limited schedule also constrains tourism and other transit-oriented economic development initiatives in the communities of Freeport and Brunswick and creates operational and financial inefficiencies in the Downeaster service. 

Royal Junction Siding will provide the capacity necessary to enable Amtrak to operate all Downeaster trains between Brunswick and Boston, providing more transit options in the region, and improving the efficiency of the Downeaster operation.  The additional frequencies between Brunswick and Portland will be operated as an extension of the existing core Downeaster service, increasing the efficiency of the Amtrak crews and equipment already in place.

 

Project Elements

The Royal Junction Siding Project includes the construction of an approximately four-mile second track adjacent to the Pan Am Freight Mainline.  The Siding will begin approximately 1,000 feet east of Field Road in Falmouth, cross Woodville Road and Muirfield Road in Falmouth, as well as Longwoods  Road (aka Rte 9), Tuttle Road and Greely Road in Cumberland.  It will terminate just east of Royal Junction, located northeast of Greely Road.   In railroad terms, this “passing siding” will be begin just east of CPF-185 (Royal Junction) and extend 21,700 feet west to a point approximately 1,000 feet east of MP- 189.   All construction work will be performed within Pan Am Railways existing railroad right-of-way with no additional environmental impacts anticipated. A Categorical Exclusion (CE) worksheet has been prepared and has been submitted to the Federal Transit Administration for concurrence.

Royal Junction Siding will be constructed as a double block passing siding to allow "at-speed" meets of two trains traveling in opposite directions.  This will allow both passenger and freight trains to move through Royal Junction concurrently, and without conflict.  In addition to new track, the new siding will require communication and signal upgrades such as a new mainline control point (CP-Cemetery), modification of an existing control point (CPF -185), new mainline automatic signals and three grade crossing AHCP conversions for double track.   The Communication and Signal upgrades required of these types of infrastructure improvements will be designed and installed by Pan Am.


Project Budget & Schedule

The total Project budget is $9,370,084.  Eighty percent (80%) of the project is being financed using federal funding sources, with the State of Maine contributing the remaining twenty percent (20%) match.