Massachusetts completes deal to purchase rail tracks from CSX - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Massachusetts completes deal to purchase rail tracks from CSX

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Touting it as a historic deal for the Commonwealth, state officials announced Thursday that Massachusetts has completed the purchase of the state's rail tracks from CSX.

In the Short term, the purchase has meant about 20 to 30 construction jobs to work on raising bridges around Western Mass.

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray believes it could mean a whole lot more long term.

"Businesses want to be in places that make it easy to get from here to there," said Murray, who believes Western Mass will be one of those places.

The just-completed deal to purchase the state's rail tracks will allow freight operations to increase in towns like West Springfield.

"That means containers coming here, products being unloaded, shipped," Murray added. "There will also be opportunities for distribution and warehousing jobs. It's about diversifying and strengthening the economy."

As part of the deal, bridges in Western Mass, such as the Roosevelt Avenue bridge in Springfield, are being raised to allow double-stacked freight trains to pass through.

Officials said the construction problems now will pay off later.

"We will have left behind a significant structure that will allow freight to be moved at a much lower cost," said Frank DePaola, administrator for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. "That will result in a lower cost of living."

The deal with CSX is just the beginning of the state's plan to get the rail systems, as well as private and public busses all working together.

"That is really Mayor Domenic Sarno and Congressman Richard Neal's vision for Union Station," said Murray. "We have got Peter Pan, the PVTA and potentially rail, but it is still years off."

Murray added that the ultimate goal for Union Station is already taking place at South Station in Boston.

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