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Amtrak, Zoo-to-Paoli Traction Power Upgrades

Burns leads engineering design and construction phase design support for upgrades to Amtrak’s century-old power infrastructure between Philadelphia and Paoli, Pennsylvania

The 22-mile stretch of electrified track from the Philadelphia Zoo to Paoli remains Amtrak’s longest distance between power substations along the New York-Washington-Harrisburg branches of the national railroad.

Amtrak is overhauling the transmission power system along the right of way to increase power reliability and efficiency, improving rail operations while maintaining the system’s state of good repair.

Burns is leading design and construction oversight for two 138-kv transmission lines and a new 138-kv to 12-kv traction power substation. Tasks include:

  • Replacement of the existing Bryn Mawr switching station with a 138-kv to 12-kv substation
  • Upgrades to the traction power substations in Paoli and near the Philadelphia Zoo
  • Replacement of catenary structures with new steel structures to support two new 138-kv transmission lines
  • Design of a redundant 100-Hz signal power distribution system
  • Relocation of ancillary facilities, including 34-kV utility distribution line, independent fiber optic network, and cellular phone antenna infrastructure
  • Civil engineering reviews, including historic, environmental and archaeological analyses
  • Coordination with local municipalities and stakeholders through a community outreach program


Bryn Mawr, PA



Learn more about Burns’ rail electrification solutions

Rail Electrification

Key Team Members

Jonathan Schimpf, PE, LEED AP

Railroad & Transit Project Manager

Jamie Dickinson, PE

Railroad & Transit Project Manager