Nevada receives $28 million grant to upgrade rail corridor

February 7, 2024

The state of Nevada will use $28 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) for a rail infrastructure project in the city of Elko that will upgrade tracks and signals and modify an Amtrak passenger station modifications to provide increased ADA-access.

The upgrades on the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad at the Elko Yard are one of 28 projects supported by the Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight & Highway Projects program (INFRA) as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The competitive grant program supports national or regional projects that improve safety, reliability and efficiency of movement of people and freight in urban and rural settings.

The upgrades call for two new power-operated crossovers between existing bi-directional tracks and a new right-hand crossover connection track so trains can be diverted around the yard during freight train work events.

“Amtrak is looking to modify two separate platforms into one ADA-compliant platform on one mainline track that will enhance safety and create an equitable environment for accessibility in a disadvantaged and underserved community,” according to a joint letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

The project’s scope calls for consolidating the eastbound and westbound boarding platforms into a fully accessible westbound platform. Plans also call for new yard track extensions to accommodate work events in the rail yard off the main tracks and improved walking surfaces in the yard. Upgraded infrastructure will also include new or enhanced track and wayside signals —including an interface with an existing Positive Train Control system.

The stretch of track is a vital component to the state’s economy, providing daily passage for 14 to18 freight trains from the west coast and Midwest. The line is also home to a daily pair of Amtrak California Zephyr long-distance passenger trains between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Photo by Jerry Huddleston

Paul Stinson

Paul Stinson has more than 15 years of journalism experience, including a decade covering the legislative and regulatory affairs of Texas, South Africa, and Germany for an affiliate of Bloomberg, L.P. His experience includes covering voting rights and the sectors of environment, energy, labor, healthcare, and taxes. Stinson joined the team in October as a reporter for SPI’s news publications, which include Government Contracting Pipeline, Texas Government Insider, and the newly-launched Government Market News. He is also a Fulbright Scholar to Germany, and an Arthur F. Burns Fellow. He holds a master’s in journalism from Indiana University.   

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