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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

USDOT obligates HSIPR grant to Massachusetts for Vermonter line improvements


Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced it obligated $72.8 million in High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program funds to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

The money will be used to restore a 50-mile rail line between Springfield and East Northfield, Mass., along the Connecticut River Valley. The improvements will enable Amtrak to cut travel times on its Vermonter line — which runs between St. Albans, Vt., and Washington, D.C. — by nearly 30 minutes, according to a press release.

The Massachusetts portion of the Vermonter corridor first was built in the 1800s. In the 1980s, Amtrak shifted its service to a line located farther east because of deteriorating track conditions on the original line. The original passenger route is located on Pan Am Southern Railway’s Connecticut River mainline. MassDOT also plans to use the federal grant to build stations in Greenfield and Northampton.

Last year, the USDOT obligated $50 million in HSIPR program funds to the Vermont Agency of Transportation to improve 190 miles of track between St. Albans and Vernon, shaving 30 minutes off Vermonter travel times within the state. Longer term, the improvements being made in Vermont and Massachusetts will increase reliability and enable future service expansion to Montreal.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/1/2011