Industrial Rail Access Program

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP) is a competitive grant program created by the Massachusetts State Legislature in 2012.

IRAP is a public/private partnership program that provides state incentive funding to increase freight rail usage in Massachusetts by making it easier for shippers/receivers to connect to the freight rail system and for railroads to attract and serve viable markets.

IRAP projects are implemented through IRAP Grant Agreements with industry rail shippers and/or freight railroads. No more than 60% of project costs are supported with state IRAP funds; at a minimum the remaining 40% of projects costs must be provided by the railroad operator and/or industry project sponsor.

Successful IRAP projects will generate public benefits by helping to retain industry partners and facilitating economic growth, job retention and new job creation while enhancing the environmental and energy benefits of freight rail and mitigating the impacts of roadway congestion.

IRAP was established to address the following overarching economic goals:

(1) Increase access to freight rail services;

(2) Stimulate economic development, retain and grow Massachusetts corporations, retain manufacturing jobs, and create new jobs through increased efficiency, production capacity, and improved distribution logistics.

IRAP projects in the Pioneer Valley

Past IRAP projects in the Pioneer Valley | 2013-2021

IRAP I (April 3, 2013)

Amherst | New England Central Railroad | $500,000 award
Improvements to mainline tracks

Palmer | New England Central Railroad | $500,000 award
Construction of a new rail siding and complete loading dock and laydown area improvements at Sherwood Lumber

IRAP II (April 14, 2014)

Westfield | Pioneer Valley Railroad | $310,032 award
Westfield–Easthampton mainline yard capacity project

Palmer | New England Central Railroad | $499,800 award
Industrial Park Freight Capacity Expansion Project

IRAP III (July 20, 2015)

Westfield | Pioneer Valley Railroad | $175,045 award
Installation of new rail siding at Railroad Distribution Services facility

IRAP IV (September 27, 2016)

Palmer | Essroc Cement Corp | $77,364 award
Improvements to a rail spur and an associated unloading facility

Westfield | Pioneer Valley Railroad | $150,000 award
Rehabilitation of a rail spur serving the DCP propane terminal

2018 (October 3, 2017)

Holyoke | Pioneer Valley Railroad | $495,000 award
Repair of an an out-of-service bridge which allowed the Pioneer Valley Railroad and Pan Am Southern to interchange rail cars via their track interconnection in Holyoke.

Holyoke | United Materials Management | $500,000 award
Extension of an existing rail spur

Ware | Tri-County Recycling | $123,720 award
Construction of a new rail spur

2019 (July 9, 2018)

Wilbraham | Western Recycling Inc. | $500,000 award
The project will allow an existing solid waste handling facility in Wilbraham to load outbound waste into railcars for shipment to out-of-state landfills. The project includes the construction of one loading track and five storage tracks for a total of 6,000 feet of new track.

2020 (December 23, 2019)

Deerfield | WT Terminal LLC | $500,000 award
The project will allow a liquid asphalt facility in Deerfield to continue to grow by creating a new spur and increasing terminal capacity.

Westfield | Pioneer Valley Railroad | $176,322
The project will build a siding in Westfield that will increase facility capacity by 25% to meet the demands of customers served by the Easthampton Branch.

2021 (November 17, 2020)

Palmer | Sherwood Lumber Corp.

Wilbraham | Old Boston Road Recycling Company, LLC

2022 (September 17, 2021)

Deerfield | WT Land LLC | $500,000 award
Google Maps link
The project will expand capacity of an existing asphalt facility served by rail.

Easthampton | Pioneer Valley Railroad | $384,022 award
The project will help expand track capacity of the Easthampton Yard to serve existing and future customers.

Westfield | James Hardie Building Products | $500,000 award
Google Maps link
The grant will assist James Hardie in installing a siding track at a new building’s products.

2023 (September 8, 2022)

Palmer | Lehigh Cement Company | $500,000 grant
Google Maps link
The grant will help upgrade the rail car unloading systems at the company’s facility. 

Wilbraham | 120 Old Boston Road Recycling | $500,000 award
Google Maps link
The grant will support new track construction at the company’s facility in Wilbrahm.

2024 (September 12, 2023)

There were no IRAP awards in the Pioneer Valley in this round.

Further reading

Industrial Rail Access Program (MassDOT)

700 CMR 4.00: Industrial rail access program (PDF)

Page last updated: September 18, 2023
Page last reviewed: June 21, 2023