East-West Passenger Rail Study Overview

The page provides an overview of the East-West Passenger Rail study that was conducted by MassDOT between 2018 and early 2021.

For current information on efforts underway to expand East–West passenger rail service in Massachusetts please visit this new page — East-West rail in Massachusetts

Purpose of the study

“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.”

Project milestones


June 12, 2018 | MassDOT advertises Bid Number BD-18-1030-0P100-0P021-28369 “East-West Rail Study” on COMMBUYS, the State’s online procurement platform.

July 16, 2018 | Bids were opened for the study project.

November 19, 2018 | Transportation Secretary Pollack announces that the East-West Rail Study project has been awarded to WSP USA. Subcontractors on the project include AECOM, Regina Villa Associates, and Keville Enterprises.

December 18, 2018 | Advisory Committee No. 1


March 12, 2019 |  Public Meeting No. 1 (no video available)

July 23, 2019 | Advisory Committee Meeting No. 2


February 6, 2020 | Advisory Committee Meeting #3

February 12, 2020 | Public Meeting #2

February 24, 2020 | Advisory Committee Meeting #4

June 10, 2020 | Advisory Committee Meeting #5

June 25, 2020 | Final Three Alternatives for Further Study Announced

Final Alternatives Feedback email (PDF)
MassDOT | June 25, 2020

September 30, 2020 | Advisory Committee #6

October 19, 2020 | Draft report released and start of the 30-day comment period

The draft East-West Passenger Rail Study report can be found on this link:

Comments are encouraged and will be accepted until the end of the day Thursday, November 19, 2020. A comment submission form can can be found on this link:

October 22, 2020  | Online Public Meeting


January 4, 2021 | The final East-West Passenger Rail Study report is now available. It can be found on this link:

Western Mass Rail Coalition papers

Our View | The Key Elements of an East-West Rail Service (PDF)
February 24, 2020

Op-Ed pieces

Published after each Advisory Committee meeting by Ben Hood (co-founder Citizens for a Palmer Rail Stop), Karen Christensen (President, The Train Campaign), Ben Heckscher (Co-founder, Trains In The Valley), and Dave Pierce (President, Chester Railway Station)

Opinion | “Keep East-West Rail on Track”
The Republican | March 18, 2018

Opinion | “On the east-west passenger rail study”
The Greenfield Recorder | August 5, 2019

See Also

Special Edition: The East-West Rail Study
Rail News Roundup #33 | February 29, 2020

East-West Rail Service in Massachusetts
Amtrak service between Boston and Albany

Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative Study (2013-2016)
The previous MassDOT study of East-West rail

Planned Northern Tier Rail Study
North Adams – Greenfield – Boston

Further Reading

East-West Passenger Rail Study (Official website)

University Survey Finds Strong Support for Springfield-Boston High-Speed Rail Service
Western New England University Polling Institute | November 13, 2017

“InFocus: Lawmakers considering rail service from Springfield to Boston” (49:00)
By Kait Walsh | WWLP-22News | January 29, 2017

Page last updated: June 28, 2022
Page last reviewed: January 11, 2020