Amtrak's Capital Program Update and the Susquehanna Rail Bridge

   Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Amtrak’s Capital Program Update and the Susquehanna Rail Bridge - 1.0 PDH

1650 Arch Street, Suite 2100,
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Meeting Area Location:  21st Floor - 5 Star Center
General Admission $50; Government $35; Students $35



Topic 1 - Amtrak’s Program

The NEC supports approximately 260 million passenger rail trips every year on Amtrak and the eight commuter railroads that operate on the corridor. Major capital investment is needed to upgrade critical aging infrastructure elements, many of which are more than a century old, to deliver capacity and reliability while meeting current and projected future demand. 

James Richter, PE is the Deputy Chief Engineer Structures for Amtrak and will provide an overview of Amtrak’s capital needs regarding the many major structural projects on the NEC.  This presentation will include the Gateway Program in the NY-NJ metropolitan area and several critical bridges in Maryland among others. 

Topic 2 - Susquehanna River Rail Bridge

The existing Amtrak Susquehanna River Rail Bridge is a 4,154 foot long movable bridge that supports two tracks across the river.  Built in 1906 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, it is located between the Town of Perryville and the City of Havre de Grace, Maryland. The bridge carries Amtrak NEC trains, Amtrak long-distance trains, MARC Penn Line trains and Norfolk Southern freight trains.  It is a vital structure on the Philadelphia to Washington segment of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor (NEC). Amtrak planning efforts have shown a need to increase capacity on the line due to the growing demand for rail service by each of the railroads operating over the bridge.  Separately, Amtrak is planning for a future 160 mph service on this line.  The existing truss configuration prevents widening of the structure to provide additional track capacity. In addition, the speed restriction on the structure causes this two-track bridge to be an operational choke point on the NEC and will restrict future growth by each of the three railroads.  The Susquehanna River Rail Bridge Project has recently entered Final Design.  The project will construct a new two-track bridge upstream of the existing structure and then replace the existing bridge with a new two-track twin bridge to obtain four-track service.  This will improve capacity, trip time, reliability and safety at this location. 


James Richter, PE (Topic 1)

Jim Richter is the AVP Engineering & Design for Amtrak, and has overall responsibility for capital planning and programming, inspection and maintenance standards, and engineering design, for Track, Structures, Electric Traction, Communication, and Signal assets across Amtrak’s network. Previously he held the Deputy Chief Engineer Structures position.  Current major projects include the B&P Tunnel Replacement, Susquehanna River Bridge Replacement, Connecticut River Bridge Replacement, Pelham Bay Bridge Replacement, High Speed Rail Facility Expansion, and the Gateway Program’s Hudson River Tunnel.

Prior to joining Amtrak in 1999, Jim held various engineering and management positions in the bridge and structures department, including Assistant Chief Engineer Structures, during his 23 years at Conrail. He began his engineering career with Penn Central Transportation Company.

Jim has a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from Tri State University and is a registered Professional Engineer.  Jim is a member of the American Railway and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA) Committee 15 Steel Structures, and has previously served on the AREMA Board of Directors as Vice President of the Structures Functional Group.  Jim is a member of the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Bridge Research Advisory Group, and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).  

Kevin McDermott, PE (Co-Speaker – Topic 2)

Kevin McDermott has over 20 years of experience in the structural design, inspection and construction of bridge, building, tunnel, rail transportation and waterfront facility projects.  He is a Principal Structural Engineer at the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (AMTRAK) and is serving as the Project Manager for the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge Project.  He is based in 30th Street Station, Philadelphia within the Engineering Structures - Structural Design Group and covers a wide variety of infrastructure projects nation-wide.  He holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, a Commercial Diver Certification and is a PE in New Jersey. 

Jeffery Konrad, PE (Co-Speaker – Topic 2)

Jeff Konrad has 29 years of experience in the design, inspection and construction of bridge and transportation projects in Pennsylvania and throughout the Northeast.  He is a Vice President at HNTB Corporation and serves as the Structural Department Manager for Pennsylvania Operations and is based in their Philadelphia Office.  In his tenure at HNTB, he has managed some of their largest bridge design projects including the Portal Bridge Project, NJ Transit’s Midline-Loop, and the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge Project in Maryland.  He holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Lafayette College, an MBA from Rutgers University, and is a PE in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.  He also served as an adjunct engineering professor for 11 years.

Meeting schedule:
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm  Dinner (Baked Ziti + Chicken Parmesan / Vegetarian)
7:30 pm - 8:45 pm  Program

To register (REQUIRED):
Register Here (link), or you may email Jack Cardinal <> or call
610-594-2460, Extension 3046 by the Friday before the meeting (11/24/2017).  

Mail checks payable to SEI-Phila Chapter (or bring to the meeting) to:
SEI Treasurer Mr. Daniel Kucz
100 Campbell Blvd, Suite 100
Exton, PA 19341

**Payment must be made for the cost of dinner if you make a reservation but are not able to attend, since we must pay this cost to the caterer.**