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Massachusetts, CSXT agree on commuter- and freight-rail pact


Yesterday, Massachusetts officials and CSX Transportation execs announced they reached an agreement to improve and expand commuter- and freight-rail service in the commonwealth.

Under the agreement — which took about four years to hammer out — service on five trains the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates between Framingham and Boston will be extended to Worcester by Oct. 27. The commonwealth plans to eventually purchase CSXT's rights on the Boston-to-Worcester line, increasing the potential to add even more commuter-rail service and gain control of the line's dispatching and maintenance.

By 2009, the commonwealth plans to purchase from CSXT the New Bedford-Fall River Line, helping facilitate a plan to extend commuter-rail service to the two cities. Massachusetts also plans to purchase CSXT's rights in the Boston Terminal Running Track and West First Street Yard in South Boston, and the Grand Junction secondary line that extends from Beacon Park Yard through Cambridge.

In addition, Massachusetts and CSXT soon will begin increasing vertical clearance of bridges along the railroad's mainline between Interstate 495 and the New York state line to accommodate double-stack freight trains. The commonwealth will assume responsibility for raising highway bridges while CSXT will lower tracks.

Massachusetts also is determining whether to help CSXT relocate its locomotive service facility outside of Boston. The Class I plans to eventually move its operations out of Beacon Park.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/3/2008