Philadelphia Zoo to Paoli Transmission Line Project

Project Description

Amtrak proposes improvements along the electrification system within the existing Amtrak right-of-way between the Zoo Substation (mile marker 2.5) and the Paoli Substation (mile marker 20) on the Keystone Corridor. The project area crosses through Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester counties. Project components include:

  • Construction of new 138kV transmission lines within Amtrak right-of-way to replace aging and inaccessible transmission lines that are not on Amtrak right-of-way; note that the power feed to the former transmission lines will be deactivated, but the infrastructure will not be physically altered.
  • 1-for-1 replacement of deteriorated catenary structures within Amtrak right-of-way, which will henceforth carry both the catenary lines and the transmission lines; new structures will be taller to accommodate the added traction power transmission lines.
  • Construction of an additional gantry at Paoli substation.
  • Demolition of the obsolete switching station at Bryn Mawr (also known as Bryn Mawr Substation) and construction of a new traction power substation on a slightly larger footprint.

The Bryn Mawr Substation and the catenary structures along the rail corridor will be removed and replaced.  There will be no changes or removal of the existing train stations or other major built elements of the railroad corridor.

Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

FRA prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) to assess the potential impacts of the project to the human and natural environment. The EA was prepared in accordance with NEPA (42 United States Code [U.S.C.] 4321 et seq.); the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing NEPA (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] parts 1500–1508); and FRA’s Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (64 Federal Register [FR] 28545 [May 26, 1999] and 78 FR 2713 [January 14, 2013]). The EA also documented compliance with other applicable Federal environmental laws and regulations, including Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), as amended (16 U.S.C. 470) and the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.). Environmental analyses and evaluations included an assessment of the potential affects to Historic Resources in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The following information was provided in response to comments and concerns expressed about the project, and to assist with Section 106 consultation:

FRA signed the EA on March 24, 2017, and held a public information meeting at the Lower Merion Township Administration Building on May 4, 2017. The public comment period lasted for 30 days following the release of the EA. On September 25, 2017, FRA signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The FONSI addressed the public comments and included measures to minimize impacts that will be implemented with the Project.

If you have additional questions related to the project, please contact Brandon Bratcher, FRA Environmental Protection Specialist, at Brandon.Bratcher@dot.gov, or send your comments to:

Brandon Bratcher
Federal Railroad Administration
RPD-13: Environment and Corridor Planning Division
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
West Building, Mail Stop 20
Washington, DC 20590