Amtrak, Rhode Island kick off construction of high-speed rail project at Kingston Station

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and Amtrak have begun a $41 million construction project at the station in South Kingstown to prepare for high-speed rail service.

The project involves construction of a third track at the Kingston Station, as well as of two high-level platforms to provide passengers with disabilities full access to the trains. Layout of the third track will enable Amtrak trains stopping at the station to come off the main line, while high-speed Acela trains bypass them, state officials said in a press release.

The additional capacity will accommodate expanded commuter-rail service to the station when the state expands commuter rail farther into South County.

“The improvements are an immediate benefit for Amtrak and their movement throughout the Northeast Corridor, and they provide a double benefit of enabling an expansion of our commuter rail in the future,” said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr.

Manafort Brothers Inc. was awarded a $17 million contract to do preliminary foundation work for 1.5 miles of new track, as well as install drainage, retaining walls and the pole foundations for overhead wires. The firm also will raise the existing platforms at the station.

After the preliminary work is completed, Amtrak will begin construction on the track and overhead wires. Final completion is slated for summer 2017.

The project is being funded by the federal government — with $26.2 million dedicated through the High-Speed Intercity Passenger-Rail Program — and Amtrak.

You’ll almost always beat the bus from Providence to NYC (or the bus from NYC to Providence) with Amtrak. Avoid congested highways and take in spectacular views instead when you travel from Providence to New York City. The Amtrak Northeast Regional train offers multiple daily departures up and down the Northeast corridor that deliver you from city to city without the stress and delays of traffic. The Providence – New York City route follows the Connecticut coast, offering picturesque vistas of harbors, ships and bridges from your reclining seat.

The ride from downtown Providence to New York Penn Station on the Northeast Regional train averages three and a half hours, while some Providence – NYC bus routes can take over five hours. And the high-speed Amtrak Acela Express train will get you there in less than three hours, an ideal option for the business traveler or someone pressed for time.