This page provides an overview of the freight railroads operating in the Pioneer Valley region of western Massachusetts.
Berkshire & Eastern Railroad
In the Pioneer Valley, Berkshire & Eastern provides freight rail service on Connecticut River Main Line between Springfield and East Northfield, Massachusetts, and on the Patriot Corridor which extends from Mechanicville, New York to Ayer, Massachusetts via Greenfield.
From the MassDOT-owned classification yard in East Deerfield, Berkshire & Eastern operates road freight trains in all four directions of the compass — north to Whire River Junction, VT, east to Ayer, MA and Portland, ME, south to Plainfield, CT, and west to Mechanicville, NY and Mohawk, NY.
Berkshire & Eastern also operates local freight trains out of East Deerfield to serve rail customers along the Connecticut River Line and the Patriot Corridor.
In the Pioneer Valley, Berkshire and Eastern interchanges rail traffic with CSX in Springfield2, New England Central Railroad in Miller Falls3, and the Pioneer Valley Railroad in Holyoke.
1 As part of CSX’s purchase of Pan Am Railways on June 1, 2022, management and operation of the Pan Am Southern network was to be taken over by Berkshire & Eastern Railroad, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming. Berkshire & Eastern took on this role on September 1, 2023.
2 This is not a regular interchange. It is used for occasional high-wide and detour movements.
3 Interchange traffic with NECR is routed via Millers Falls, MA, but the physical interchange is performed at Brattleboro, VT for railroad convenience.
CSX Transportation (CSX) [system map], a Class I railroad, operates a freight railroad system that connects to every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports.
In the Pioneer Valley, CSX interchanges freight traffic with the New England Central Railroad in Palmer, Springfield Terminal Railways in Springfield1, and the Pioneer Valley Railroad in Westfield.
CSX provides freight rail service to a number of local customers in and around Springfield.
New England Central Railroad
New England Central Railroad (NECR) [system map (PDF)], a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc., operates a 394-mile freight railroad between the the Vermont/Quebec border, and tidewater at the port facility in New London, Connecticut.
In the Pioneer Valley, NECR interchanges freight rail traffic with Pan Am Railways in Millers Falls2, CSX in Palmer, and with the Massachusetts Central Railroad, also in Palmer.
Major commodities on the NECR include lumber, panels & plywood, poles, newsprint, printing paper, compressed gas, chemicals, fuel oils, road salt, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, fabricated metals, resins, trailers/containers on flatcars, finished vehicles, feed mill ingredients, machinery and equipment, recyclables, ash, construction debris, foodstuffs and non-metallic minerals.
Industrial Development on the New England Central Railroad (PDF)
By Ryan Fischer | Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services | October 2014
Pioneer Valley Railroad
The Pioneer Valley Railroad [system map (PDF)] is a shortline railroad based in Westfield. It serves industries, warehouse operations and transloading facilities in the cities of Holyoke and Westfield.
The Pioneer Valley Railroad interchanges freight rail traffic with CSX in Westfield and with Pan Am Railways in Holyoke.
The railroad’s classification yard is located in Westfield. [Google Map]
Customers of the Pioneer Valley Railroad include propane suppliers, lumber yards, waste haulers and paper mills, as examples.
Pioneer Valley Railroad operates a sister company in Westfield called Railroad Distribution Services which owns and manages a number of logistics facilities with rail access.
“Pioneer Valley Railroad in Westfield logs continued growth in freight rail service”
The Republican | March 7, 2022
Freight Railroads & Climate Change (PDF)
The association of American Railroads | March 2021
Page last updated: September 6, 2023
Page last reviewed: March 9, 2022