Connecticut River Main Line

The Connecticut River Main Line (a.k.a. the Conn River Line) between Springfield, Ma. and East Northfield, Ma., is a major north–south rail corridor in the valley. The line, which was acquired by Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) in 2015, is currently used by Amtrak’s Vermonter service and Pan Am Southern, a regional freight railroad.

In 2009 MassDOT initiated the Knowledge Corridor — Restore Vermonter Project to return Amtrak’s Vermonter service to the 49-mile Connecticut River Main Line. The project, which is part of a longer-term MassDOT vision for the Massachusetts Knowledge Corridor, was funded with $83 million in Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail funds and $48 million from state bonds.

Restoration of the rail line, which began in 2012, includes the replacement of approximately 95,000 railroad ties; installation of 49 miles of new continuously welded rail; installation of new turnouts and crossovers; installation of a new signal system; installation of new warning devices at 23 public grade crossings and four private crossings; and upgrades to six bridges. The project also includes the construction of new passenger boarding platforms in Northampton and Greenfield, and the construction of a bike underpass in Northampton.1

1 The new station platform in Holyoke was primary funded through a state grant provided by the MassWorks Infrastructure Program.


Images of the line

Pan Am's Conn River Line prior to reconstruction Northampton, MA - June 20, 2014
Pan Am Southern’s Connecticut Main River Line prior to reconstruction
Northampton, Ma. | June 20, 2014



A Norfolk Southern steel gang positions a piece of new continuous welded rail North Hillside Rd, Deerfield, MA - July 10, 2014
A Norfolk Southern steel gang positioning new rail
North Hillside Road, Deerfield, Ma. | July 10, 2014


New turnouts Elm St, South Deerfield - August 24, 2014
Newly installed turnouts
Elm Street, South Deerfield, Ma. | August 24, 2014


A pair of Norfolk Southern ballast regulators at work Plain Rd, Hatfield - September 18, 2014
A pair of Norfolk Southern ballast regulators working south
Plain Road, Hatfield, Ma. | September 18, 2014


Additional images of the reconstruction work can be found on this link:
Connecticut River Line (Flickr album)


See also

Infrastructure | Current projects

Infrastructure | Completed projects


Further reading

Knowledge Corridor Feasibility Study (2009)
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Filing for the Acquisition of Certain Assets of Pan Am Southern LLC (2014)
Docket No. FD-35863, Surface Transportation Board
(MassDOT’s filing to acquire the Conn River Main Line)

Knowledge Corridor – Restore Vermonter Project (archived)
Project website | MassDOT

FRA Grant Agreement – Knowledge Corridor Project (2011)

Progress Reports for FRA
Knowledge Corridor Restore Vermonter Project
4Q2013 thru 3Q2015


Page last updated: July 11, 2019
Page last reviewed: June 29, 2016