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 – Restore Vermonter Project (archived)
Project website | MassDOT

Progress Reports for FRA (PDF)
Knowledge Corridor Restore Vermonter Project
FFY 1Q2014 thru 4Q2018

MA Knowledge Corridor/Restore Vermonter (PDF)
Application Form for Track 2–Corridor Programs
Federal Railroad Administration | October 2, 2009

MA Knowledge Corridor (PDF)
Corridor Service Overview Form
High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program
Federal Railroad Administration | October 2, 2009

MA Knowledge Corridor (PDF)
Service Development Plan
High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Track 2 Program
Federal Railroad Administration | October 2, 2009

Knowledge Corridor Feasibility Study (PDF)
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission | December 2009

FRA Grant Agreement – Knowledge Corridor Project (PDF)
July 1, 2011

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Filing for the Acquisition of Certain Assets of Pan Am Southern LLC (PDF)
Docket No. FD-35863, Surface Transportation Board | October 10, 2014
(MassDOT’s filing to regarding their acquisition of the Connecticut River Main Line)

 

 

Page last updated: September 9, 2019
Page last reviewed: June 29, 2016