This page provides an overview of the freight railroads operating in the Pioneer Valley region of western Massachusetts.
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.
CSX owns and operates the east-west rail corridor that runs through downtown Springfield.
In the Pioneer Valley, CSX interchanges freight traffic with the New England Central Railroad in Palmer, Pan Am 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.
Pan Am Railways
In the Pioneer Valley, Pan Am Railways (through its subsidiary Springfield Terminal Railroad) 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.
In the Pioneer Valley, Pan Am Railways interchanges rail traffic with CSX in Springfield1, New England Central Railroad (NECR) in Miller Falls2, and the Pioneer Valley Railroad in Holyoke.
Pan Am Railways operates a large railroad classification yard in East Deerfield. [Google Map]
From its yard in East Deerfield, Pan Am Railways operates road freight trains in all four directions of the compass — north to Bellows Fall, VT, east to Ayer, MA and Portland, ME, south to Plainfield, CT, and west to Mechanicsville, NY and Mohawk, NY.
Pan Am Railways also operates local freight trains out of East Deerfield to serve rail customers along the Connecticut River Line and the Patriot Corridor.
Note | On November 30, 2020 CSX announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Pan Am Railways. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory review and approval by the Surface Transportation Board, is expected to be completed during the second half of 2021.
Pioneer Valley Railroad
The Pioneer Valley Railroad’s classification yard is located in Westfield. [Google Map]
The Pioneer Valley Railroad interchanges freight rail traffic with CSX in Westfield, where its main classification yard is located, and with Pan Am Railways in Holyoke.
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.
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
1 This is not a regular interchange. It is used for occasional high-wide and detour movements.
2 Interchange traffic with NECR is routed via Millers Falls, MA, but the physical interchange is performed at Brattleboro, VT for railroad convenience.
Freight Railroads & Climate Change (PDF)
The association of American Railroads | March 2021
Page last updated: March 1, 2021
Page last reviewed: November 10, 2020