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Amtrak Maintenance Facility and Sea Level Rise

Providing protection from the forceful Delaware river through modeling and storm surge analysis

  • Washington, District of Columbia

    Washington, District of Columbia

Storms and floods won’t stop these trains

Rising waters are drowning Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, the busiest stretch of rail in North America. When faced with flooding, rising seas, and storm surge from the Delaware River—a significant force that runs 330 miles (531 kilometres) and touches five states—Amtrak needed to better protect a key maintenance yard in Wilmington, Delaware, one of the few in the country that can repair electric locomotives.

For an effective remediation design, you have to clearly understand storm water within the facility. We performed a routing analysis on behalf of Amtrak as a cost-effective way to accurately evaluate the total capacity and flow of the facility under both normal and storm surge conditions. Based on the analysis, we created a model to estimate water level changes within the facility as a response to projected water level variations in the Delaware River under normal and storm conditions today, as well as potential sea rise scenarios in the future.

After our modeling and analysis, we developed effective options to protect Amtrak’s maintenance yard, which is crucial to ongoing operations for this train service, used daily by thousands. Also, because the modeling was completed using a routing analysis rather than a complicated 2D model, the process was more efficient, resulting in a shorter timeframe and quicker results. 

At a Glance

  • Balfour Beatty Construction

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