A look at the worst bottlenecks on the Northeast Corridor

As state and federal officials look for an estimated $15 billion for a new train tunnel between New York and New J pictured at the top was built in 184ersey, passengers along the rail line known as the Northeast Corridor contend with regular disruptions caused by track configurations and infrastructure dating to the time of the Model T — or earlier.

The Cos Cob Bridge pictured above was built in 1848 and rebuilt in 1890.

These antiquated structures, which will cost billions to replace or upgrade, conspire to slow train travel in a variety of ways. They can limit the number and speed of trains that pass through at a given time, and aging parts can lead to malfunctions when bridges open to allow boats to pass under. Regular maintenance can be costly and time-consuming.

With Congress reluctant to fund major rail projects and states unable to foot the bills themselves, it paints a bleak picture for the Northeast Corridor, the nation’s busiest rail line, where annual passenger trips on Amtrak and eight commuter lines, currently at 260 million annually, are projected to double by 2040.

“It’s one of those things that when it happens, it really is scary,” Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said, referring to when one of his state’s aging bridges malfunctions. “There is no alternative. There’s no option for that. When it opens and it doesn’t shut, the whole Northeast corridor is shut down.”

Read more