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Massachusetts DOT issues RFP for east-west rail plans

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), at podium, joined other local officials to unveil the RFP at Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Photo – Neal's Twitter account

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday announced a request for proposals (RFP) to find a consultant team to study the feasibility of passenger-rail service between Boston and western Massachusetts.

The RFP is part of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's (MassDOT) plan to conduct an 18-month study of proposed rail service between Boston and Springfield, as well as cities farther west, such as Pittsfield and Palmer.

The study will seek input from stakeholders and evaluate costs, speed, infrastructure needs and potential ridership throughout the corridor, according to a press release issued by Baker's office.

"Many legislators, local and regional officials and business leaders called for such a study and we are pleased to take a step in advancing this planning for future service," said Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack.

The Springfield-Boston corridor tracks are owned by CSX, which will participate in the feasibility study, according to a WGGB report.

Meanwhile, Baker also announced that an agreement has been finalized with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to kick off a passenger-rail service pilot between Springfield and Greenfield.

Under the agreement, MassDOT will pay for and manage the pilot service, which Amtrak will operate. The pilot service, which will begin in spring 2019 and conclude in fall 2021, will make two round trips each day and stop at stations in Greenfield, Northampton, Holyoke and Springfield.

The service will be operate along the MassDOT-owned Knowledge Corridor rail line, which Amtrak's Vermonter route uses.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/13/2018