Expanded Knowledge Corridor Service

Status: In Planning

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

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced in June 2018 that it is moving forward with plans to add additional passenger rail service on the Knowledge Corridor in mid-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 Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton, and Greenfield.

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

The pilot service will 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.

If the 2 1/2 year pilot service proves to be successful, added inter-city rail service from Springfield to Greenfield could be considered. Permanent passenger rail service could be achieved as an extension of the CTrail Hartford Line service.

Additional details will be provided when they become available.

Background

The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) and many elected officials in our region have been advocated for additional passenger rail service north of Springfield for many years.

The existing Vermonter service, while greatly preferable to no service at all, has drawbacks that are not easily overcome. Simply stated,  the Vermonter service — only operates once a day in each direction, is timed (scheduled) and priced for long-distance travel, and departs at a time of day that makes it impossible to travel south past Springfield and return in the same day.

Efforts to expand service north of Springfield stem from the completion of the PVPC’s Knowledge Corridor Passenger Rail Feasibility Study in 2009. The study assessed the feasibility of future passenger rail improvements intended to reduce travel time, maximize accessibility, and provide viable transportation alternatives within the Knowledge Corridor.

 


Further Reading

“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

 

Page last updated: July 12, 2018
Page last reviewed: August 25, 2017