Wilmington-based AmeriStarRail makes case for fencing on Amtrak Northeast Corridor


A Wilmington-based railroad venture seeking to manage Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor service is making the case for fencing and other measures that would reduce trespassing/suicide deaths.

Earlier in the summer AmeriStar Rail President Scott Spencer appear before a Congressional subcommittee to make the case for its plan for the corridor and other measures it suggests for the passenger railroad owned by the US government.

“Unsecured right-of-way has existed since the Northeast Corridor route was built in the 19th Century. With trains operating at speeds up to 160 mph in the 21st Century this poses an unacceptable risk to safety and service reliability,” Spencer told the committee.

Spencer also cited hours-long delays that occur from trespassers who meet their fate from a train traveling at 125 miles an hour (in Delaware) and higher

According to Spencer, Amtrak does not employ the track protection measures seen in high-speed European and Asian trains. He also noted that debris that can include dumped water heaters makes its way on to tracks and can cause delays and even derailments.


AmeriStarRail has not gained any traction with its proposal that would simplify the corridor’s operations with all Acela high-speed trains, relieve congestion and add service more cities along the Washington, D.C. to Boston route. The corridor operates with a combination of Acela and slower Northeast Regional trainsets.

Of late, AmeriStarRail has been focusing on safety issues along the corridor, including the use of old passenger cars along the high-speed route.

Amtrak has received funding for upgrades that would include a new bridge over the Susquehanna River west of Newark. Spencer claims the passenger service is making poor use of federal money.