Rail News Roundup #6

 

Regional Rail news for the Pioneer Valley

Summary of Today’s Reports

• Updated Knowledge Corridor Conference Program

• CTrail Hartford Line Factsheet Released

• MassMoves Report Shows Strong Support for Rail Service

• Sixt Rent a Car opens office at Union Station

• Trash Cleared at the Station in Holyoke

• Vermont Rail Action Network Annual dinner

Calendar

Knowledge Corridor Transportation Conference
Springfield Union Station
We. October 18, 2017 | 7:30 am – 12 Noon | Free
Please note that this event is now Sold Out

Live Stream link
http://focusspringfield.com/2017StateOfTheRegion
(live stream starts at 9 am ET)

 

Updated Knowledge Corridor Conference Program

An updated program (shown below) for this week’s “State of the Region” Transportation Conference has been released.

The most notable update is that Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy will be be attending the conference and making a few brief opening remarks.

Note that this event will be Live Streamed on this link:
http://focusspringfield.com/2017StateOfTheRegion

Final Conference Program | October 17, 2017

 


CTrail Hartford Line Factsheet Released

CTrail Hartford Line Service Factsheet | October 2017
Source: http://www.nhhsrail.com/pdfs/hartfordline-factsheet-final.pdf

Of particular note:

  • Hartford Line fares will be similar to the current fares on CTrail’s Shore Line East service, which operates between New Haven and New London.
  • Parking at CTrail stations is expected to be $2/day and $20/month, with free parking on weekends and holidays.
  • The CTRail Hartford Line website is reported to be “coming soon.”

 


MassMoves Report Shows Strong Support for Rail Service

Recently released MassMoves report shows strong support for improved and expanded passenger rail service across the Commonwealth.

“Whatever region people came from, people saw regional rail as a top mobility priority,” said Jim Aloisi, a former state transportation secretary who worked on the Senate study.”¹

“Asked what effect the latest study will have on the Springfield to Boston rail proposal, State Senate President Stan Rosenberg replied, ‘We’ve got to do it. We’ve got to get rail going all over the state.’ “¹

MassMoves Report | October 2017 | Page 24

Nine regional MassMoves workshops were held as part of the State Senate’s Commonwealth Conversations listening tour between January and April 2017.

The Western Region meeting, which was held in Springfield on March 28th, attracted an overflow crowd of 104 participants and 14 state senators.

MassMoves Report | October 2017 | Page 40

Further Reading

2017 MassMoves Report

¹ “Study finds improving rail service is top transit priority for Western Mass. residents”
By Shira Schoenberg | MassLive.com | September 26, 2017

 


Sixt Rent a Car opens at Springfield Union Station

Sixt Rent a Car has opened a rental location at Springfield Union Station.

Springfield Union Station | October 12, 2017

The Sixt office is now open from 8 am – 5 pm Monday thru Friday.

Rental cars can be picked up or dropped of on the ground floor of the Union Station Parking Garage.

 


Trash Cleared at the Station in Holyoke

Full trash cans on the platform | Holyoke, Ma. | October 12, 2017

We received a report of full trash cans on the station platform in Holyoke — so we reported the issue using the City of Holyoke’s page on SeeClickFix.com. The problem was resolved the same day.

A minor point, yes — but details like this matter. Overflowing trash cans are unsightly and they have the potential of attracting rodents.

 


Vermont Rail Action Network Annual Dinner

The Vermont Rail Action Network’s (VRAN) annual dinner and award celebration will be held on Wednesday evening November 8th in Rutland.

This is an important rail advocacy event in Vermont and we will be attending the dinner to show our support for VRAN’s ongoing efforts to improve passenger rail service in Vermont — in particular the Vermonter.

Please contact us if you are interested in car pooling to this event from either the Whatley or Greenfield Park and Ride lots.

VRAN event registration link

 

 

Posting last updated: October 17, 2017

Rail News Roundup #5

 

The latest regional rail news from Trains In The Valley

Today’s Reports

• Peter Pan and Greyhound Move to Union Station

• Hartford Line Update | New Meriden Station Garage Opens

• Planned Refresh of Amtrak’s Coaches

• Northampton | Missing Station Signage

• Northampton | New Bike Underpass  – Still Waiting for Power

• Dome Cars in the Valley

 

Trains In The Valley website page updates

About > About Us

 

Calendar

Knowledge Corridor Transportation Conference
Springfield Union Station
We. October 18, 2017 | 7:30 am – 11:40 am | Free
Meeting Agenda (PDF)
Eventbrite | registration link
Only a limited number of tickets are still available

 

Peter Pan and Greyhound move to Union Station

A view from the top of the Union Station Garage | looking east
Springfield, Ma. | September 13, 2017 | 4:15 PM

Peter Pan Bus Lines and Greyhound are the latest new tenants at Springfield Union Station. Peter Pan moved on September 5th and Greyhound made the move just a few days later, on September 11th. When Amtrak will move — from their historic station building at track level — into the renovate main waiting room is not clear at the moment.

The image above shows the state of affairs at Union Station on a weekday afternoon in mid-September. Seven Peter Pan coaches along with a single Greyhound coach can be seen parked in the intercity berths at the station.

On the right is the existing Amtrak portion of the station complex — with its three low-level boarding platforms and station building.

A single high-level boarding platform will be built to replace Platform C along with an elevator and stairs to connect the new platform to the concourse level below. The latest report suggests that the platform should be completed by mid-2018.

 


Hartford Line Update | New Meriden Station Garage Opens

Photo credit | The Record Journal

The Connecticut Department of Transportation opened a new three-level parking garage in downtown Meriden last week — an improvement that will make parking more convenient for CTrail Hartford Line Meriden station rail passengers and provide easy access to the City’s new transit-oriented development sites.

Parking costs $7 a day and $40 a month, with free parking on weekends and holidays. The garage will also offer discounted parking for riders on the Hartford line.

By comparison, the daily parking rate at the new Springfield Union Station garage is $20 a day and $90 a month.

Further reading
“Officials anticipate opening of downtown Meriden parking garage will create economic growth”
By Bryan Lipiner | Record-Journal | September 18, 2017

 


Planned Refresh of Amtrak’s Coaches

Rendering: Refreshed Coach Class seat cushions on board select Northeast, Midwest trains
Credit: Amtrak Media Center | August 23, 2017

Amtrak has announced its intention to overhaul the interior of their fleet of Amfleet I coaches over the next two years. The “refresh” will include new seat cushions, new carpeting, new LED reading lights, new bathroom flooring, upgraded wainscoting and bulkheads, new curtains in the Business Class cars and redesigned galleys in the café cars.

New interiors will roll out on the following routes that service the Pioneer Valley: Northeast Regional trains that serve Springfield, the Vermonter, and the Springfield Shuttles.

Further Reading
“We’re Enhancing the Customer Experience One Seat at a Time”
Amtrak Blog | September 2017

“Refreshing the Amfleet”
Amtrak History Blog | September 18, 2017
A historical look at the interior of Amtrak’s Amfleet passenger cars through the years.

 


Northampton | Missing Station Signage

Pleasant Street – looking North
Northampton, Ma. | September 24, 2017

In a recent letter to the Daily Hampshire Gazette a resident of Florence questioned why there was no signage to mark the entrance the Amtrak station on Pleasant Street in Northampton — as shown in the image above. (the entrance to the station is on the right in this image.)

The writer has raised an interesting question whose answer, at the moment, seems to be a mystery.

 


Northampton | New Bike Underpass – Still Waiting for Power

Looking at the west entrance of the new underpass
Northampton, Ma. | September 23, 2017

A recent check of the bike/pedestrian underpass work site in Northampton suggests that most of the finish work is now nearly complete — including the new signage and road surface marking.

The image above shows that an electric meter has not yet been installed in the panel to the left of the path — which means that electric service at the underpass site has not yet been established by National Grid. Without electric service there is no power for the lighting and surveillance cameras.

Further reading
Trains In The Valley > Northampton Underpass

 


Dome Cars in the Valley

“AAPRCO Private Passenger Car Special on PAN AM in Easthampton 9 17 17” | via YouTube | conrailSD40guy

Many people have reported sighting an odd looking Amtrak train in our area recently.

The special train operated northbound on the MassDOT’s Connecticut River Main Line through the Pioneer Valley on Sunday evening September 17th. The train, which was dubbed “The Green Mountain Flyer,” was operated by Amtrak for the American Association Of Private Railroad Car Owners as part of their 2017 Convention in Burlington, Vt.

In the YouTube video above you can see the special 18-car train passing through Easthampton, Ma. (near Route 5) on its way to Vermont. If you look closely you will see a total of four dome cars and an open platform observation car.

This is clearly not something that we see very often on the tracks in our area.

Further reading
“A slice of rail history at Rensselaer station”
By Eric Anderson | Times-Union | September 13, 2017

“What are those fancy railroad cars doing in Burlington?”
By C. B. Hall & Timothy McQuiston | Vermont Business Magazine | September 20, 2017

 


Trains In The Valley website page updates

About > About Us
To simplify things a bit, we’ve combined the “Purpose” and “Who We Are” pages into a single new page with the title “About Us”. This new page includes refreshed text and a few images.

Rail News Roundup #4

 

The latest regional rail news from Trains In The Valley

Today’s Reports

• Northampton Underpass Nears Completion

• Peter Pan Moving to Union Station on September 6th

• Updated Springfield Union Station Parking Rates

• Video | Hartford Line Track Construction Machine Makes Progress

• Transit Oriented Development on the Hartford Line

 

Trains In The Valley website updates

About > Transparency & Accountability

Safety > Railroad Crossing Safety

 

Calendar

Knowledge Corridor Transportation Conference
Springfield Union Station
October 18, 2017 | 7:45 am – 11:55 am | Free

 

Northampton Underpass Nears Completion

Construction progress image of the new bicycle/pedestrian underpass
Northampton, Ma. | Behind the Walgreens – looking South | August 20, 2017

Work on the new bicycle and pedestrian underpass in Northampton is nearing completion.

Last week the contractor was working on the final grading and hardscape work at the site. Paving of the access ramps on either side of the underpass would appear to be next.

It would appear that MassDOT and its contractor for this project Northern Construction are well on their way towards completing this project on-time.

Further reading

Infrastructure > Current projects > Northampton Underpass

 


Peter Pan Moving to Union Station on September 6th

Intercity bus bays at Springfield Union Station | June 25, 2017

Peter Pan Bus Lines has announced that they plan to move their regional hub to Springfield Union Station on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017.

On this date all Peter Pan and Greyhound bus services and ticket sales will move into the newly renovated Union Station complex.

In related news, Peter Pan has announced that it will end its 19-year partnership with Greyhound Lines on September 27th. According to this article in MassLive, “the move will allow Peter Pan to offer paperless boarding on all its routes, more express service and to be on-time more often.”

 


Updated Union Station Garage Parking Rates

People have asked about the cost to park at the new Union Station Garage in Springfield.

The parking rate is calculated as $1.50 for the first 30 minutes and then $2.00 for each additional hour — up to a maximum of $20 for the day. Longer term rates are also available.

The current rates are shown on these display screens on each parking kiosk at the garage.

Parking kiosk display screen 1
Union Station Garage | August 18, 2017
Parking kiosk display screen 2
Union Station Garage | August 18, 2017

Note that Ken’s Parking, at 73 Taylor Street, has a day rate that starts at $10.

Further reading

Passenger Rail > Amtrak Stations > Springfield Union Station

 


Track Construction Machine Makes Progress in Connecticut

In July 2017, the NHHS Rail Program captured the Track Construction Machine (TCM) in operation as it layed new track in Berlin, Connecticut. By utilizing an unmanned aerial vehicle, video crews were able to provide the public with a “bird’s-eye” view of the 250-ton machine, which can assemble up to 1,000 feet of track per hour in ideal conditions, totaling over one mile of track per day.

This summer the TCM layed ten miles of new track between Meriden and Newington. Later this fall, it will return to lay an additional four miles of new track between Hartford and Windsor.

The CTrail Hartford Line commuter rail service — which will operate between Springfield, Hartford and New Haven — is scheduled to open in May 2018.

Further reading

Passenger rail > Future Service > CTrail Hartford Line


Transit Oriented Development on the Hartford Line

“There is action near the station as development ramps up”
By Tom Condon | The Connecticut Mirror | July 27, 2017

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) projects take off near future CTrail Hartford Line stations in Connecticut.

Key takeaways from the article —

“Dozens of communities [in Connecticut] — Windsor, Windsor Locks, Wallingford, Branford, Stamford, Norwalk, New Britain, Westport and others — have TOD studies or projects underway.”

“Towns have to get the zoning right. Most communities that embrace TOD create overlay zones around stations to encourage mixed-use development.”

“Towns must get the parking right. A railroad station surrounded by acres of surface parking is not transit-oriented development…”

The area north of Springfield Union Station, with its many surface parking lots and single-story commercial structures, is an obvious location for TOD.

LINK TO STORY

“There is action near the station as development ramps up”
By Tom Condon | The Connecticut Mirror | July 27, 2017

 


Trains In The Valley website updates

Safety > Railroad Crossing Safety
This page was updated with the most current version of the “Public Highway-rail Crossings Ranked by Predicted Accidents report” for Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties (as of 12/31/2016).

The report shows that there were a total of four reported accidents at public railroad crossing in the Pioneer Valley during the five-year period from January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2016.

About > Transparency & Accountability
The page has been updated and refreshed. We have also added our 2Q2017 financial report.

Rail News Roundup #2

 

The latest regional rail news from Trains In The Valley

Today’s Reports

• Union Station is Open!

• Senator Eric Lesser’s “Rally4Rail” Whistle Stop Tour

• Democratic Party Platform Includes Support for East-West Rail

• Strong Vermonter Ridership in Northampton Reported

• Design for Expanded Northampton Station Platform Released

• Vermonter Extension to Montreal Takes Another Step Forward

• New Rail Dropped along the Conn River Line

• Track Washout in Vermont Affects Vermonter Service

 


Union Station is Open!

Springfield Union Station re-opened to the public on Sunday morning June 25th.

Main waiting room | Union Station
Springfield, Ma. | June 25, 2017

The first Amtrak passengers in over forty years to enter though the main waiting room — captured in the image above — were spotted in the building shortly after it was opened at 10 a.m.

 

Public Open House at Union Station
Springfield, Ma. | June 25, 2017

An open house was held from 10 a.m until 3 p.m. for the public and then at 4:30 p.m. the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority moved the hub for their bus operations in Springfield to the station.

(Yes, that is the Cat in the Hat in the middle of the picture.)

 

Trains In The Valley & Citizens for a Palmer Rail Stop at the Open House
Union Station | Springfield, Ma. | June 25, 2017

Trains In The Valley and the advocacy group Citizens for a Palmer Rail Stop shared a table at the open house.

We talked with people all day long about the rail service in our region and we thank everyone who stopped by to say hello.

 

Union Station | view from the parking garage roof | looking East
Springfield, Ma. | June 26, 2017

 

Bronze rededication plaque at Union Station
Springfield, Ma. | June 25, 2017

Further Reading

“Union Station grand opening honors Springfield history”
By Elizabeth Roman | The Republican | June 25, 2017

Video | “Springfield’s restored Union Station filled with history”
By Kait Walsh | WWLP-22News | June 24, 2017

2017 Union Station Open House (48 images)
Flickr album | Spirit of Springfield | June 25, 2017

Infrastructure | Springfield Union Station
Trains in the Valley

 


Senator Eric Lesser’s “Rally4Rail” Whistle Stop Tour

On Monday, June 19, 2017, State Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) embarked on a “whistle stop” tour across the state to make the case for expanded East-West passenger rail service.

Making stops in — Boston, Framingham, Worcester, Palmer, and Springfield — Lesser spoke of the benefits to all of making this rail connection.

Focus Springfield Community Television joined the senator and his staff for the tour and recorded each of the public events.

Credit:
Focus Springfield Community Television: Stephen Cary, Executive Producer | Brendon Holland, Producer | Josue Vazquez, Editor

Further Reading

“State Sen. Eric Lesser rallies for high-speed rail study at Springfield’s Union Station, last stop of day-long tour”
By Brian Steele | The Republican | June 19, 2017

 


Democratic Party Platform Includes Support for East-West Rail

The 2017 Massachusetts Democratic Party platform now includes support for East-West rail service between Springfield, Worcester, and Boston.

The new wording, quoted below, was adopted at the quadrennial platform convention that was held in Worcester on June 3, 2017.

“Investment in transportation infrastructure that links communities to each other and to jobs across the Commonwealth, including: increasing the expansion of capacity and reach of the MBTA, including the Green Line Expansion; the construction of the North-South Rail Link to unify north-side and south-side commuter rail systems and to extend the Northeast Corridor; building high speed rail along the East/West route between Springfield, Worcester, and Boston; and construction of the South Coast Rail Project.”

 


Strong Vermonter Ridership in Northampton Reported

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz announced on June 23, 2017 the follow news regarding passenger rail service in the city.

• Northampton station has become the 3rd leading station for passenger traffic on the Amtrak Vermonter line since rail service resumed in the city on December 29, 2014

• Northampton ridership has increased to over 18,000 people annually which is 20% of the Vermonter’s total rail ridership of 88,006.

• Travel between Northampton and New York’s Penn Station is the leading travel “pair” for passenger arrivals and departures.

• Unofficial ridership data for April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2017 shows that Northampton ridership is up 20% with 15,781 passengers in 2016 to 18,980 for 2017.

• The 2009 HDR Knowledge Corridor Study projected that realignment of the Vermonter to its original CT River corridor would result in 28 riders per day in Northampton. In 2015, Northampton station averaged 44 riders per day and in 2016 that increased to 50 riders a day.

Further Reading

“Northampton’s popularity among rail riders boosts push for more service”
By Amandra Drane | Daily Hampshire Gazette | June 26, 2017

Vermonter Performance | Ridership
Trains in the Valley

 


Design for Expanded Northampton Station Platform Released

It has been announced that the passenger station platform in Northampton will be be expanded to a length of 120-feet by the end of the year.

Architectural rendering of planned expanded rail platform
Northampton, Ma. | June 2017

The expanded station platform will allow for two pairs of passenger car doors to be opened on the platform, which would basically double the speed of boarding (and deboarding) passengers in Northampton.

The platform expansion project will go out to bid soon and if all goes well the project should be completed by the end of 2017.

Further Reading

Infrastructure | Northampton
Trains in the Valley

 


Vermonter Extension to Montreal Takes Another Step Forward

On June 21, 2017 the House of Commons of Canada adopted Bill C-23, the “Preclearance Act, 2016″, which among other things would allow for establishment of a preclearance facility in Central Station in Montreal. The passage of this bill is is one of the many things that must happen before Amtrak’s Vermonter service is extended to north to Montreal.

The bill has been sent to the Senate of Canada, where it will sit until the Senate returns to session on September 19, 2017.

Further Reading

Vermonter Extension to Montreal
Trains in the Valley

 


New Rail Dropped along the Conn River Line

New pieces of continuously welded rail have been laid along portions of the MassDOT owned Connecticut River Main Line over the past two weeks.

Connecticut River Main Line | looking North
Keets Road crossing | Deerfield, Ma. | June 26, 2017

In the image above, new rail has been dropped next to the so-called Deerfield Siding. Presumably this siding will be rebuilt, with new ballast, ties and new rail, in the near future.

 


Track Washout in Vermont Affects Vermonter Service

> Updated on July 5, 2017 at 4 p.m. <

Amtrak’s Vermonter was temporary replaced with bus service between stations north of Springfield, Ma. from Sunday, July 2nd through to the morning of Wednesday, July 5th.

WCAX in Burlington reported that about 800 feet of New England Central Railroad’s track in West Hartford, Vt. had been “compromised” after heavy rain on Saturday, July 1st caused an embankment to become unstable from the saturated ground.

Amtrak service was restored when the northbound Vermonter (Train 56) departed Springfield on Wednesday afternoon, July 5th. It is expected that the Vermonter will operate normally in both directions tomorrow.

Further Reading

“Vermont Amtrak passengers bussed, rail track unstable”
By WCAX News | July 2, 2017

“Amtrak Service Restored in Hartford”
By WCAX News | July 5, 2017

Rail News Roundup #1

 

There’s a lot happening currently so we thought we should pause for a moment to review a few of the major news stories and highlight whats on tap for the coming week.

 

Recent Regional Rail News

“Plans revealed for $32 million transformation of Springfield’s Paramount Theater and Massasoit Block into boutique hotel”
By Peter Goonan | The Republican | June 15, 2017

$32 million redevelopment of the historic Massasoit Block and Paramount Theater on Main Street, just two blocks from Springfield Union Station.

This is very big news for Springfield, and the redevelopment of the area near Union Station.

 

 

“Canada-U.S. preclearance bill finally moves ahead, but privacy concerns mount over Trump’s ‘extreme vetting’
By Marie-Danielle Smith | National Post | June 15, 2017

Montreal Central Station / Pascal Normand
Montréal Central Station / Pascal Normand

The Canadian bill, which among other things, would allow for the establishment of a preclearance facility at Montreal Central Station.

With some luck the bill will be approved by Parliament this summer so that the long discussed plan to extend the Vermonter to Montreal can move forward.

Further Reading | Vermonter Extension to Montreal

 

“Track laid at CRRC subway car factory in Springfield”
By Jim Kinney | The Republican | June 16, 2017

Newly laid track at the CRRC factory in Springfield, Ma.
Dave Roback/ The Republican

Continued progress at the CRRC rail factory in Springfield.

“At 204,000 square feet, the $95 million factory at the old Westinghouse site in East Springfield is the largest industrial investment in greater Springfield in generations. The factory building is about 300 by 700 feet, with room inside for three and a half football fields.”

“CRRC, also known as China Railway Rolling Stock Corp., plans a grand opening celebration at the plant in October or early November, with production on new MBTA subway cars to begin early in 2018.”

 


Upcoming Events

Monday, June 19th

Senator Eric Lesser travels from Boston to Springfield, with stops in Framingham, Worcester, Palmer and Springfield, on a ‘whistle-stop’ tour to promote expanded East-West passenger rail service.

Here’s a summary of Monday’s westbound-only schedule.

9:00 am in Boston – Press conference with Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry and Sen. Joe Boncore

11:00 am in Framingham – Press conference at Framingham MBTA commuter rail station with Sen. Karen Spilka and local elected officials to discuss the regional and state-wide importance of modern rail infrastructure and concerns about the Framingham at-grade rail crossing.

12:30 pm in Worcester – Meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler and the Editorial Board of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette to discuss how expansion of MBTA rail service to Worcester has transformed the city.

3:30 pm in Palmer – “Rally for Rail | Palmer” event and meeting with Sen. Anne Gobi and local business leaders at Palmer’s Steaming Tender Restaurant to discuss Transit Oriented Development opportunities for the town and region.

5:30 pm in Springfield – “Rally for Rail | Springfield” event at Springfield Union Station hosted by Sen. Lesser and other local elected officials. (You can park for free inside the new Union Station parking garage.)

The rallies in Palmer and Springfield are open to the public and we would encourage people to attend.

 

Tuesday, June 20th | 6 pm – 7:45 pm

A special evening program at Sixteen Acres Branch Library, 1187 Parker St, Springfield, on the long-awaited grand reopening of the Springfield Union Station.

 

Sunday – June 25th | 12 Noon to 2 pm

Official Public Open House for Springfield Union Station

Activities include:

• Guided tours by the designers of the new murals in the station

• “Saving Union Station” Book Signing

• Model Train Exhibit by Amherst Rail Society

• Amtrak Safety Display

• Antique Cars and Bus Displays, including historic Peter Pan buses from the past

• Little Hands on the Move – Explore the city streets and landmarks of the Springfield Cultural District using wooden cars and motorcycles on a giant carpeted map.

• Early Transportation Please Touch Table – Put on your white curator gloves and touch car parts from a century ago.

• Marble Run – Use plastic, wood, recycled, and even illuminated materials to create twists and turns to see how far you can get your marbles to roll.

• Make & Take: Union Station Themed Buttons – Color a train, bus or Union Station Grand Opening logo then have it made into a wearable button.

• Appearance by the Cat in the Hat – Meet and greet with the Cat from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

• Appearance by Springfield Thunderbirds “Boomer”

• WMAS FM

• Cupcakes and other sweets for sale

• Springfield Water Department Hydration Station

And yes, Trains in the Valley will be at this event with its own table. Please stop by and say hello!

 

Sunday – June 25th | 4:30 pm

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) shifts its regional bus hub to Springfield Union Station.

Details can be found on this link to the PVTA website.

 

Please follow our page on Facebook for the latest news and information | Facebook: Trains in the Valley

Union Station to Reopen June 26th

On Monday, March 6th, Congressman Richard E. Neal hosted a “Media Day” event at Union Station to celebrate the rebirth of Union Station in Springfield. During the event, it was announced that Union Station will reopen to the public on Monday, June 26th, 2017.

At that time Amtrak’s passenger waiting room and ticket offices will move into the newly renovated station. It is expected that Peter Pan Bus Lines, Greyhound, and the bus operations of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will then follow as quickly as practical.

The images that follow highlight today’s media event and the station as it looks today — as final preparations for the re-opening are put in motion.

 


Images from Today’s Event

Waiting for the event to start
(the screen hanging from the ceiling is the future train status display board)

 

Congressman Neal speaking to invited guests and dignitaries

 

A view from one of the station alcoves

 

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno offering his remarks for the occasion
(Note the new murals on the wall)

 

Construction workers observing the event from the upper floors

 

Congressman Neal and Mayor Sarno are presented with copies of the Certificate of Occupancy for the “new” Union Station

 

Congressman Neal being interviewed by WWLP 22 News

 


Images from Inside the Station

Looking south from the main concourse — towards the passageway under the tracks

 

The east side of the main concourse

 

A highlight of the new station is the wonderful set of large graphic displays (murals) that were developed by Design & Advertising Associates LLC of Springfield and the Museum of Springfield History.

 

 

 

The corridor leading to the intercity bus waiting area

 

A view of the waiting area for bus passengers

 


Train Platforms

At track-level, you will unfortunately not find much that is new or improved at the moment. The current MassDOT Capital Improvement Plan includes funding for the construction of one high-level platform at the station. The new platform will replace the existing low level “Platform C”, which is shown in the image below.

We are hopeful that the planned high-level platform will be completed before the new Hartford Line service starts in early 2018.

Platform C (on the left) – looking east

 

Behind a door in the passageway under the tracks is the framing of the new elevator shaft and a set of original stairs that once led to Platform C — clearly a work in progress.

 

An original — and future — stairway to “Platform C”

 

In the meantime —  until the new high-level platform is built — train passengers will continue to access the boarding platforms using the existing stairway and elevator at the south end of the passageway.

 


Images from Outside the Station

From the top of the new parking garage – Looking east, towards Boston

 

A view of the new six-story elevated parking garage

 


Further reading

“After 4 decades and $95 million renovation, grand opening date set for Springfield’s Union Station”
By Jim Kinney | MassLive | March 6, 2017

“Springfield Union Station: What’s next, rental spaces, platforms, Lyman Street and more”
By Jim Kinney | MassLive | March 6, 2017

“Amid ongoing negotiations, Peter Picknelly confirms plan to move Peter Pan into Springfield’s Union Station”
By Jim Kinney | MassLive | March 6, 2017

“Union Station to reopen in a few months” (1:59)
By Kait Walsh | WWLP 22 News | March 6, 2017

 

Recent website updates and additions

Infrastructure > Current projects > Northampton Underpass
This page has been updated with new images.

Passenger Rail > Vermonter Performance
The On-time Performance & Departure Delay spreadsheet for the Vermonter has been updated with data through to the end of February 2017.

WWLP-22News Special Report: Springfield-Boston Rail Service

WWLP-22News Anchor/Reporter Katie Walsh’s amazing full hour-long special report on the potential for Springfield-Boston passenger rail service is now available on the this link:

“InFocus: Lawmakers considering rail service from Springfield to Boston”
By Kait Walsh | WWLP-22News | January 29, 2017

This is by far the most comprehensive report on this topic by any media outlet in the Pioneer Valley to date.

WWLP’s report, which was 6 weeks in the making, includes interviews with all the key players, including

Tim Brennan | Exec. Director, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
Governor Charlie Baker
Astrid Glynn | Rail & Transit Administrator, MassDOT
State Senator Eric Lesser | First Hampden and Hampshire
Mary Macinnes | Administrator, Pioneer Valley Transit Authority
Guy McLean | Wood Museum of Springfield History
Tim Murray | President & CEO, Worcester Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Representative Richard Neal | 1st District of Mass.
Peter Picknelly | Owner, Peter Pan Bus Lines
Rick Sullivan |President, Economic Dev. Council of Western Mass.

Trains in the Valley was interviewed for the piece in the historic Union Station building in Northampton.

The report is balanced and comprehensive. We would encourage everyone with an interest in this topic to take the time to view this report, from start to finish.