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Massachusetts DOT updates South Coast Rail environmental report

The project's first phase would use existing freight corridors to extend Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Middleborough/Lakeview Line.
Photo – MBTA


The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has filed a draft supplemental environmental impact report (DSEIR) for the proposed South Coast Rail project, which calls for restoring commuter-rail service between Boston and the state's southeast region.

The report analyzes new components of the project's first phase, which would extend the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Middleborough/Lakeview Line to New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton using existing active freight corridors.

The new primary element to be included in the first phase is the use of the Middleborough Secondary freight line to connect Taunton to the Middleborough Main Line, MassDOT officials said in a press release.

The first phase of service could start as soon as late 2022. Estimated to cost $935 million, the initial phase would use existing diesel locomotives and new bi-level coaches to accommodate additional riders.

Capital costs for the entire South Coast Rail project are $3.2 billion, with service starting in 2030.

"With the filing of the DSEIR and other documents, the day gets closer when people will be able to have a one-seat ride on a train between Boston and the South Coast, connecting them to jobs, schools, businesses, and cultural opportunities, and taking vehicles off the highways to help reduce greenhouse gases," said MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack.

In March 2017, MassDOT adopted a phased approach to help accelerate the South Coast Rail project.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/7/2018