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 financial assistance to eligible applicants who are prepared to invest in industry‐based rail infrastructure access improvement projects located on, within or adjacent to the Massachusetts freight rail transportation network.

IRAP was established to address the following overarching economic goals:

(1) Increase access for Commonwealth industry partners to freight rail distribution 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;

(3) Preserve, rehabilitate, and establish new and expanded industrial rail spurs and industry distribution rail sidings to increase the shipment of goods using freight rail, and

(4) Provide pre‐construction funding for promising projects to acquire portions of railroad rights of way and to support design and permitting services needed to ready projects for implementation

Questions about the IRAP program should be directed to the Manager of State/Federal Rail Programs, MassDOT Rail & Transit Division. (contact details are listed in the sample IRAP application below.)


IRAP awards in the Pioneer Valley


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.


Holyoke | Pioneer Valley Railroad | $495,000 award
Repair of an an out-of-service bridge. When complete, the Pioneer Valley Railroad and Pan Am Southern will once again be able 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


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


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


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


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


Further reading

Industrial Rail Access Program (MassDOT)

Title 700 of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, section 4.00

MassDOT Grants Awards Expand Industrial Rail and Freight Access Opportunities
MassDOT Press Release | October 3, 2017



Page last updated: July 18, 2018
Page last reviewed: April 4, 2017