Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Western MA Commuter Rail Not Yet A Reality

(SOURCE:  New England Public Radio)

Massachusetts officials announced Wednesday the state has an agreement to purchase the right-of-way for nearly fifty miles of railroad running between Greenfield and Springfield. Amtrak service is scheduled to begin late this year on the line, but  a more regular commuter service is far from a done deal.

Several Massachusetts officials including Governor Deval Patrick pulled into Greenfield on a special train from North Adams to announce the deal between the state and Pan-Am Railways.  This could open the door to a north-south commuter rail service in the future. Department of Transportation head Richard Davey says while there is money to refurbish old train cars the state already owns, there is still one key ingredient missing to make this a reality.

“When you’re talking about a service over a long period of time, on an annual basis, you have to come up with some revenue,” Davey says. “So at this point we don’t have it, but I don’t think it’s that much either. We’re coming up with some calculations to give a sense to the legislature and the next administration what it would be.”

State officials are targeting December 29 as the day Amtrak’s Vermonter service will begin using the line. To start, one train is expected to run in each direction daily

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