East-West Passenger Rail Study

This page provides a brief overview of the East-West Passenger Rail Study that is being managed by the MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning.

The official website for the study can be found on this link
East-West Passenger Rail Study | MassDOT


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.”

The study, which is expected to take between 12 and 18 months, should be complete by the Spring of 2020.


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 | Study Advisory Committee No. 1


March 12, 2019 |  Public Meeting No. 1 and Open House


July 23, 2019 | Study Advisory Committee No. 2


East-West Study Advisory Committee Meeting #2 Presentation (PDF)
July 23, 2019

Date to be announced | Public Meeting No. 2


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


Current news

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Western Massachusetts Rail Initiatives
Press Release | Office of Governor Charlie Baker | June 12, 2018

MassDOT takes next step toward $1 million east-west rail study”
By Jim Kinney | The Republican | October 17, 2018

As state begins $1M east-west passenger rail study, Palmer seeks a piece of the action”
By Jim Russell | The Republican | November 21, 2018


See Also

Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative Study (2013-2016)

WWLP-22News Special Report: Springfield-Boston Rail Service
January 29, 2017


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



Page last updated: August 14, 2019
Page last reviewed: November 25, 2018