State to study feasibility of rail service from Springfield to Boston

(Western Mass News photo)

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker made a major announcement on Tuesday about the future of rail transportation in the Commonwealth.

Changes to routes aim to better connect the Pioneer Valley through the northeast as leaders explore new options to expand service.

Baker, along with local leaders, met today at Union Station in Springfield. They are looking to see if rail service to Boston makes sense for rail commuters.

Connecting the Pioneer Valley to New York, Connecticut, and possibly Boston may soon get easier.

"Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Pittsfield into New York," said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

The state is launching an 18 month feasibility study on connecting Springfield to eastern Massachusetts.

"It will give us a chance to take a comprehensive look at all the options possible and to make, what I describe as, the best decision going forward for the Commonwealth and for the region," Baker explained.

The tracks are owned by CSX, a participant in the study.

"It will build on work that has been done at the federal and state level," Baker added.

The announcement comes on the heels of increased service from north to south.

"Stimulus spending and that long-term investment will be significantly enhanced by what we take on on Friday," said Rep. Richard Neal.

Come this Friday, rail service is expanding in western Massachusetts into Connecticut. A launch of 12 new runs will be added to the train schedule, syncing up with service into New York City.

"Remember that the Connecticut rail has estimated that anywhere from 1,800 to 2,000 additional people will pass through this Union Station alone once all of the rail is put together and I think the casino, and the increased business downtown, it all augers well," Neal added.

As the north and south expansion begins, the prospect for further development has many eager to see what the future brings.

"Let's see what happens with east-west, what is the mechanism that is feasible and sustainable," Sarno explained.

Massachusetts leaders said that this is a milestone, but there is much more to come in terms of expanding rail transportation.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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