Rail News Roundup #14

Today’s Headlines

• Expanded Knowledge Corridor Service to Start in 2019!

• East-West Rail Study RFP Issued


June 16/17, 2018
Opening Weekend for the Hartford Line
All Hartford Line passenger rail service (CTrail and Amtrak) will be FREE this weekend.

For more information visit

Wed. June 20, 2018 | 6 pm – 8 pm
Exploring Transit-Oriented Development in Gateway Cities
Theodore’s BBQ | 201 Worthington St, Springfield

An an evening of tasty refreshments, networking and a brief presentation of findings from a recent MassINC’s report on Transit-Oriented Development in Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities
[information/registration link]

July 27–28, 2018
Northampton | Golden Spike 2018
The largest rails-to-trails conference of the year in New England.

Expanded Knowledge Corridor Service to Start in 2019!

The Amtrak Vermonter arrives in Holyoke, Ma. | Courtesy of WAMC

Governor Charlie Baker announced today that a term sheet has been finalized with the Connecticut Department of Transportation which will enable the start of passenger rail service between Springfield and Greenfield beginning on a pilot basis in the Spring of 2019.

The pilot service will be operated by Amtrak — with two trains operating from Greenfield to New Haven in the morning and two trains north from New Haven to Greenfield in the evening. Station stops in the Pioneer Valley will include Northampton, Holyoke and Springfield.

The service will be timed to allow people from the region to travel to points beyond New Haven — as example New York City — in the morning and return the same day.

Transportation Secretary Pollack said today that the pilot service would start after necessary capital projects along the rail corridor are completed. These projects include construction of a high-level boarding platform at Springfield Union Station, an expanded boarding platform in Northampton, as well as track and bridge work along the rail line.

Further information

“Expanded North-South Rail Service in June 2019”
By Jim Kinney | The Republican | June 12, 2018

“Northampton mayor sees busy train station getting busier with planned north-south Knowledge Corridor service expansion”
By Jim Kinney | The Republican | June 13, 2018

East-West Rail Study RFP Issued

Press Conference at Springfield Union Station | June 12, 2018
Courtesy of the Office of Sen. Eric Lesser

Governor Charlie Baker today joined Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack, Congressman Richard Neal, Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, members of the Massachusetts Legislature and local leaders at Union Station in Springfield to announce a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a consultant team to study the feasibility of east-west passenger rail service.

The Request for Proposals will enable the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to carry out an extensive study over approximately 18 months, and analyze many aspects and options for potential east-west passenger rail service.

“I have always believed that improved and enhanced rail service between Springfield and Boston has the potential to be a game changer for our region. That’s why I thank Governor Baker for coming to Union Station today to announce that he is authorizing a comprehensive study on the feasibility of east-west rail. It will build on the study of local rail service funded by the Federal Railroad Administration that former Congressman John Olver and I requested in 2006. With the debut of expanded passenger rail service between New Haven and Springfield later this week, these two significant projects will help grow our economy and greatly improve the quality of life in the region. Investing in our transportation infrastructure will benefit people across the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal (D-MA).

“Carrying out a comprehensive study on east-west passenger rail will allow us to have a rigorous, fact-based discussion regarding options for potential service,” said Transportation Secretary Pollack. “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.”

The Purpose of the Study, as detailed in the East-West Rail Study Scope, reads as follows:

“The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) seeks to examine the feasibility of passenger rail service – up to and including high speed rail – from Boston to Springfield and Pittsfield, with the speed, frequency, and reliability necessary to be a competitive option for travel along this corridor.

This study will closely examine any associated implementation challenges, in particular those related to the movement of freight along the corridor, and identify all necessary improvements to support more frequent and higher speed intercity passenger rail service between Boston and Western Massachusetts.

Given the recent or ongoing studies of portions of this corridor, this study should minimize the duplication of analysis.”

At 3:05 pm today MassDOT posted the Bid Solicitation for the East-West Rail Study on COMMBUYS, the official procurement record system for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Executive Departments.

Of particular interest are the following two documents:

East-West Rail Study Scope (8 pages)

East-West Passenger Rail Study RFP (14 pages)
Request for Proposal Number EW2018

These documents can be viewed on this COMMBUYS link
Bid Solicitation: BD-18-1030-0P100-0P021-28369

Bids are due to be opened on July 9, 2018.

Please Note | A more extensive version of the TIV Rail News Update will be issued on Thursday, June 14th.

Post last updated: June 13, 2018