Rail News Roundup #14

 

Today’s Headlines

• Expanded Knowledge Corridor Service to Start in 2019!

• East-West Rail Study RFP Issued

 

Calendar

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
TrainsInTheValley.org/ctrail-hartford-line

 

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

Video of Springfield Union Station News Conference (23:46)
Courtesy of WWLP-22News | June 12, 2018
(click on the 2nd video)

 


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

Rail News Roundup #3

 

The latest regional rail news from Trains In The Valley

Today’s Reports

• Hartford Line service to begin in May 2018

• Amtrak Inspection Train Runs North to Montreal

• EVENT | NARP meeting in Springfield | Aug 19th

• EVENT | Knowledge Corridor Transportation Conference | Oct 18th

• Central Corridor Passenger Rail Study Released

• Rebooting New England | UPenn Graduate Planning Studio

• TIV website | Updated station information pages

• TIV website | Northampton Underpass project update

 



Hartford Line service to begin in May 2018

New Meriden station – under construction | June 29, 2017

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has announced that the “Hartford Line” commuter rail service – between New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield, Ma. – will start in May 2018.

When the Hartford Line service launches, a total of 17 roundtrip trains between New Haven and Hartford will operate each weekday, with 12 of those roundtrip trains continuing to Springfield. On weekends, a total of 13 roundtrip trains will operate between New Haven and Hartford, with 9 of those trains continuing onto Springfield.

A joint venture of TransitAmerica Services and Alternate Concepts was chosen over Amtrak and three other bidders as the service provider for the service.

See also
Train In The Valley | Hartford Line

Further reading
“Gov. Malloy Announces TransitAmerica Services and Alternate Concepts Selected as Service Provider for the Hartford Line”
Press Release | The Office of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy | July 24, 2017

“Connecticut DOT picks transit team to operate Hartford Line”
By Luther Turmelle | New Haven Register | July 24, 2017

“DOT: Amtrak’s history not a factor in selection of joint venture to operate CTtrail Hartford Line”
By Mike Savino | Meriden Record-Journal | July 25, 2017

 


Amtrak Inspection Train Runs to Montreal

NECR trestle at East Alburgh, Vt. | looking East | July 18, 2017
Photo Credit: Kevin Burkholder | Steel Wheels Photography
Source: http://www.railpictures.net/photo/623639/ | Image used with permission

Amtrak operated an inspection train from St. Albans, Vt. (SAB) to Montreal (MTR) on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 – another clear signal that plans are progressing to extend the Vermonter north into Canada.

In this image the inspection train is seen crossing the upper part of Lake Champlain on the New England Central railroad (NECR) trestle at East Alburgh, Vt. Various reports suggest that Amtrak President & CEO Wick Moorman was on the train along with other U.S. and Canadian officials.

People who remember taking Amtrak’s former overnight train – the “Montrealer” – north may recall that crossing this trestle was the indication that the train was just moments away from entering Canada.

See also
Trains In The Valley | Vermonter Extension to Montreal

 


EVENT | NARP meeting in Springfield | August 19th

‘A Connected New England’

New England Regional Meeting of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP)

Saturday, August 19, 2017
11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Sheraton Monarch Place Hotel – Springfield, Ma.

Keynote Speakers:
Timothy Brennan
Executive Director, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Jim Mathews
President/CEO, National Association of Railroad Passengers

Note that this meeting is open to the public.

Further information is available on this link
https://www.narprail.org/events/new-england-2017-regional-meeting

 


EVENT | Knowledge Corridor Transportation Conference

Mark your calendar for the special half-day conference, “Leveraging the Knowledge Corridor’s Transportation Assets and Investments to Drive Economic Progress.”

Date and time | Wednesday, October 18, 2017 / 8 am – 11.45 am

Venue | Springfield Union Station

The keynote speaker will be Robert Puentes, President/CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation.  Panelists will include five members of Congress from the region:  Richard Neal and James McGovern from Massachusetts and John Larson, Rosa DeLauro, and Elizabeth Esty from Connecticut.

The meeting agenda also includes plans for talks by Connecticut Commissioner of Transportation James Redeker and his counterpart in the Bay State, Stephanie Pollack, Secretary/CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Further details to follow

 


Central Corridor Passenger Rail Study Released by MassDOT

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has posted a copy of the recently completed Central Corridor Passenger Rail Feasibility Study on their website. The study, which apparently has been in the works since 2014, examines the implementation and operation of  intercity passenger rail service along the Central Corridor.

The Central Corridor is a freight rail line running north-south approximately 100 miles between Brattleboro, Vt. and New London, Ct., including the communities of Amherst and Palmer, MA. MassDOT conducted the feasibility study to examine potential for intercity passenger rail service along the Central Corridor.

It is unclear at this time what if anything MassDOT plans to do now that this study is complete.

The report can be viewed on this link
http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/planning/Main/CompletedStudies.aspx

 


Rebooting New England | UPenn Graduate Planning Studio

Rebooting New England, a Fall 2016 graduate planning studio convened by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, sets forth a strategy to rebuild the economy of New England’s cities, which have been bypassed economically and physically for decades.

This strategy is underpinned by a modern high-performance rail network between New York and Boston that would link all of New England’s urban centers with these two global cities and with each other.

The 184-page report, which is audacious in its scope, looked closely at the UK initiative known as the “Northern Powerhouse”, an economic revitalization plan for the North of England and its older industrial cities. Underlying this strategy is the $52 billion high-speed rail project, which will link London with Manchester and Leeds. Another planned line will create a network that links all of the major cities in the North of England with each other.

Interesting summer reading.

The report can be viewed this link
https://www.design.upenn.edu/city-regional-planning/graduate/work/rebooting-new-england

 


TIV website | Updated station information pages

The station information pages on the website have been updated and refreshed.

Direct links to these pages can be found  below:

Amtrak Station | Greenfield, Ma. (GFD)

Amtrak Station | Holyoke, Ma. (HLK)

Amtrak Station | Northampton, Ma. (NHT)

Amtrak Station | Springfield Union Station (SPG)

 


TIV website | Northampton Underpass project update

Construction progress image of the new bicycle/pedestrian underpass
Northampton, Ma. | Behind the Walgreens – looking South | July 16, 2017

Continued progress at the bike and pedestrian underpass work site in Northampton.

Additional new images and commentary can be found on this link
Train In The Valley | Northampton Underpass