Infrastructure | Current Projects

This page provides an overview of the rail infrastructure projects currently underway in the Pioneer Valley region of western Massachusetts.

Contents

Connecticut River Main Line (a.k.a. the Knowledge Corridor)

Conn River Line Bridge Work | MP 3.6 & MP 7.97

Knowledge Corridor Positive Train Control project

Springfield

Amtrak Interlocking Renewal Project

Riverfront Park Access Project

Track Reconfiguration Design Project

New High Level Platform

Freight

New England Central Railroad Freight Corridor Upgrade

Connecticut – Projects of note

Enfield | New Hartford Line station

Windsor Locks | New Hartford Line station

Hartford Line | New coaches and cab cars

Hartford Line | Double Track (Phase 3B)

Hartford Line | Connecticut River Bridge Replacement

Please note that this is not an all-inclusive list. There are many other smaller projects underway at any given time, as example — vegetation control, culvert maintenance and replacement, bridge maintenance, signal system maintenance, railroad crossing maintenance, and others.


Connecticut River Main Line (a.k.a. the Knowledge Corridor)

Conn River Main Line Bridge Work | MP 3.6 & MP 7.97

This project calls for the repair and rehabilitation of two existing steel railroad bridges on the Connecticut River Main Line, in the cities of Chicopee and Holyoke.

An image of the Depot Street railroad overpass in Chicopee Massachusetts.
Conn River Main Line bridge at MP 3.6 | looking west
Depot Street in Chicopee, Mass. | June 20, 2020

The bridge at milepost (MP) 3.6, which carriers the railroad line over Depot Street in Chicopee, is a 25-foot long single span open deck bridge.

An image of the railroad bridge over a canal in Holyoke Massachusetts.
Conn River Main Line bridge at MP 7.97 | looking east
Gatehouse Road in Holyoke, Mass. | June 20, 2022

The bridge at MP 7.97 — which carries the railroad line over the Second Level Canal and Lyman street in Holyoke — is a 336-foot long 3-span open deck bridge.

This bridge was built in 1928 by the Boston Bridge Works. The inventory record, which can be found on the link below, indicates that the bridge replaced an iron lattice truss bridge that was built on the site in 1887.

Updates

June 17, 2022 | No bids were submitted for this project.

The project is on hold at the moment.

Further reading

B & M Railroad Bridge over Lyman Street
Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System


Knowledge Corridor Positive Train Control project (ongoing)

In 2021 MassDOT initiated a project that would lead to the installation of a safety system known as Positive Train Control (PTC) on the MassDOT-owned Connecticut River Main Line between Springfield and the Vermont state line.

The Connecticut River Main Line, which is often referred to as the Conn River Line or the Knowledge Corridor, is used by Amtrak’s Valley Flyer and Vermonter trains, and the freight operator CSX.

Notably, the Conn River Line is the only rail corridor used by Amtrak in Massachusetts that does not have PTC installed and in use today.

The other rail corridors that Amtrak operates on in the state — the Northeast Corridor, the CSX freight line west of Worcester, the MBTA Commuter Rail network1, and the Amtrak line south of Springfield — all have PTC installed and in use today.

Updates

June 21, 2021 | The MassDOT Board of Directors approved a $65 million multi-year project to add Positive Train Control (PTC) to the Connecticut River Main Line as part of the SFY 2022 Capital Investment Plan. The plan detailed $15 million in spending for the project in SFY 2022.

February 16, 2022 | During the MassDOT Board of Directors meeting it was announced that plans to procure long lead materials have started for the PTC project on the Knowledge Corridor. It was said that, “final design will be completed this year and construction will be completed over the following two years.”

May 18, 2022 | During a presentation to the MassDOT Board of Directors the Rail & Transit Administrator reported that MassDOT is working with Amtrak to pursue federal funds for the Knowledge Corridor PTC project.

1 The entire MBTA Commuter Rail network also has PTC installed and in use today.


Springfield

Springfield | Amtrak interlocking renewal project

An image of track work in Springfield Massachusetts,
Amtrak forces assembling a new turnout | Springfield, MA | August 15, 2019

Final Design | Oct 2021 – Feb 2023

Construction | Feb 2023 – Sep 2026

This project involves the upgrade and reconfiguration of Amtrak’s Spring and Sweeny interlockings just west of Springfield Union Station.

This project plans to separate Spring interlocking from Sweeny interlocking, installation of a new a crossover connecting tracks 2A and 4, and the replacement and reconfiguration of turnouts associated with the Sweeny interlocking.

The existing Sweeny interlocking is beyond its design life and the antiquated signal system and track geometry is prone to failures and dependent on spare parts that are no longer in production.

Further reading

Spring (Springfield, MA) Interlocking Renewal Project (PDF)
NEC Capital Investment Plan: FY23-27 | October 2022


Springfield | Riverfront park access project

The City of Springfield will manage a project to create a new entrance way to River Front Park.

The proposed improvements, shown below, will replace the existing surface level parking lot on the east side of the tracks with an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant pedestrian path to the existing underpass to the north of the lot.

A rendering of of the proposed new path to Riverfront Park in Springfield Massachusetts.
Rendering of proposed improvements | Springfield, Mass.

Updates

January 15, 2021 | The state Transportation Bond Bill that was signed by Governor Baker included $1.5 million in funding to improve access to Riverfront Park in downtown Springfield.

March 8, 2022 | Amtrak offered the City a $3 million contribution towards the cost of Riverfront Park access project. As part of the agreement Amtrak would be permitted to permanently close the State Street crossing.

2023 | Planned start of construction on the project.

Further information

“Railroad underpass work to improve safety, access to Springfield’s Riverfront Park”
By Jim Kinney | Springfield Republican | February 19, 2021

State Street Crossing Improvement Project (PDF)
NEC Capital Investment Plan: FY23-27 | October 2022


Springfield | Track Reconfiguration Design Project

A map of the railroad tracks in and around Springfield Union Station in Springfield Massachusetts.
Springfield station area | OpenRailwayMap | June 2022

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) intends to prepare preliminary engineering design and environmental clearance work for significant track, signal, and infrastructure improvements around Springfield Union Station.

These improvements include one or more additional platforms, additional crossover tracks, storage tracks, a new layover facility, and other work that will support the Amtrak Springfield Line, the CSX Boston Albany Line, the Connecticut River Main Line, and small segments of the former Armory Branch (to the east of the station.)

This project would improve operational efficiency, reduce travel times, improve passenger accessibility for intercity passenger rail services, and reduce freight and passenger rail conflicts on the rail corridors in the Springfield area.

The final design, among other things, in all likelihood will include elements that will eliminate the need for Amtrak’s Valley Flyer (and Vermonter, in a few years) to back in and out of the station, and for Amtrak current east-west trains 448 & 449 (the Lake Shore Limited) to stop on a low-level platform in Springfield rather than on a high-level platform.

This project lays the groundwork for a significant increase in train and passenger traffic at Springfield Union Station in the coming years.


Springfield | New High Level Platform

Passenger waiting for Amtrak Train 449 on Platform B (between tracks 2 and 2A)
Springfield Union Station | looking west | August 18, 2021

Design | Oct 2022 – Sep 2023

Construction | to be determined

This project will replace the existing low-level platform (Platform B) between tracks 2 and 2A at Springfield Union Station with a new high level boarding platform.

This platform is currently used by Amtrak’s existing east-west service, trains 448 and 449.

Further reading

Springfield MA New High Level Platform (PDF)
NEC Capital Investment Plan: FY23-27


Freight

NECR Freight Corridor Upgrade (2021– )

In February 2021 the MassDOT Board of Directors approved funding to support a project to upgrade the 55-mile New England Central Railroad (NECR) corridor in Massachusetts that runs between Monson, Palmer and Northfield.

The project, which is managed by NECR, is funded roughly 1/3rd by NECR, 1/3rd by MassDOT, and 1/3 by the Federal Railroad Administration.

A map showing planned track work in Massachusetts.
Presentation to MassDOT Board of Directors | February 22, 2021

Construction | 2022 – 2024

The project includes the replacement of 22.7 miles of jointed rail with continuously welded rail, the installation of 30,000 wood ties, the replacement of 30 turnouts, the installation of 25,000 tons of new stone ballast, the alignment and surfacing of 54.7 miles of track, and bridge deck repairs on 16 structures.

The project will increase the maximum allowable gross weight for freight cars moved on this NECR line from from 263,000 lbs to current national standard which is 286,000 lbs.

Further reading

Closing the Gap in New England Western Massachusetts Freight Railroad Upgrade Project (PDF)
MassDOT Board Presentation | February 22, 201


Connecticut – Projects of note

Enfield | New Hartford Line station

Architectural renderings of the planned Enfield station in Enfield, Connecticut.
Architectural renderings of the planned Enfield station | CTDOT | April 2021

Final Design | Mar 2021 – Jan 20231

Construction | Feb 2023 – Feb 20261

This project will add a new Hartford Line station in the town of Enfield.

The project includes a single high-level platform, transit connections, parking, and improvements to the bridge that carries the railroad over Main Street.

The new station in Enfield is important for western Massachusetts because once it opens it will become the nearest Hartford Line station for people living just over the state line, in Agawam, East Longmeadow and Longmeadow.

Enfield Station concept | April 2021

1 Per NEC Capital Investment Plan linked below

Progress images

An image of the site where the new train station in Enfield Connecticut will be built.
Site of the future Enfield, CT station | looking North | 2014
By Wikimedia Commons user Pi.1415926535

Updates

May 24, 2023 to be announced | Anticipated date for advertising the project for bids.

Further reading

Enfield Station (PDF)
NEC Capital Investment Plan: FY23-27 | October 2022

Enfield has a Station (PDF)
Town of Enfield | March 2021

“CT to build train station in Enfield, using nearly $32 million in state, federal funds”
By Abigail Brone | CT Insider | June 3, 2022

Transit Oriented Development Project
Town of Enfield


Windsor Locks | New Hartford Line station

A rendering of proposed new train station in Windsor Locks Connecticut.
Rendering of proposed new station for Windsor Locks CT | August 2019

Final Design | Jan 2020 – Apr 2022

Construction | Aug 2022 – Aug 2025

On September 14, 2022, Governor Ned Lamont joined state and local officials to officially break ground for the Windsor Locks station project, which includes a new train station and roadway safety and track improvements in the Town of Windsor Locks.

The new station, which will be located just to the north of the historic Windsor Locks station building, is expected to open in 2024.

The station will include a single 500-foot long partially covered high-level train platform.

The planned surface parking lots at the station are designed to accommodate 159 vehicles.

The station will also include a loading/unloading area for connecting bus service to Bradley International Airport.

The new station is important for people living in western Massachusetts for two reasons —

  • Windsor Locks is currently the station of choice for people living in Agawam and Longmeadow due to its close proximity, and
  • This new station will be the transfer point for the bus connection between the Hartford Line and Bradley Airport.

Updates

September 19, 2019 | The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) hosted a public information meeting meeting to present the project to the community
Presentation deck (PDF) | Project Fact Sheet (PDF)

March 30, 2022 | Bids for this project (CTDOT Project 0320-0016) were opened. The apparent low bidder was Manafort Brothers Inc. with a bid of $19,663,134.

July 2022 | The contact for the project was awarded to the Walsh Group.

September 14, 2022 | Governor Ned Lamont and other elected officials officially broke ground for the project.

Gallery of progress images

Further reading

Project Fact Sheet (PDF)

Windsor Lock Station and Interlocking Improvements (PDF)
NEC Capital Investment Plan: FY23-27 | October 2022


Hartford Line | New coaches and cab cars

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) intends to purchase a fleet of new rail cars to replace its existing push-pull coaches and cab cars on the Hartford Line, Danbury Line, and Waterbury Line.

2019

June 3, 2019 | CTDOT issued a Request for Information (RFI) regarding the procurement of FRA-compliant single-level push-pull coaches and cab cars to replace its existing push-pull fleet.

2020

April 30, 2020 | CTDOT issued a Request for Proposal for the design and manufacture of rail cars and related services.

2021

2022

November 23, 2022 | CTDOT issued a new Request for Proposal for the design and manufacture of rail cars and related services. Bids are due on January 31, 2023. (Ref: Solicitation # 22CTRAIL-1A)

add data when funding was approved (bonding)


Hartford Line | Double Track (Phase 3B)

Image coming soon

Development | Jun 2022 – Mar 2023

Final Design | Mar 2023 – Apr 2024

Construction | Jun 2024 – Jun 2026

This project will complete the double-tracking of the Hartford Line rail corridor between West Hartford and Enfield.

The project will be divided into three contracts —

Contract 1 | West Hartford to Hartford (MP 33.4 to MP 35.1)
Installation of 1.7 miles of second track between West Hartford and Hartford.
Removal of an existing freight siding.

Contract 2 | Windsor to Windsor Locks (MP 46.2 to MP 48.6)
Installation of 2.4 miles of second track between Windsor and Windsor Locks.

Contract | Enfield (MP 51.5 to MP53.1)
Installation of 1.5 miles of second track in Enfield.

Each contract also includes signal improvements. track drainage swales, underdrains, existing culvert extensions and rehabilitations, grade crossing improvements including wayside horns, retaining walls, and reconnection of existing commercial/industrial sidings, as required.

Further reading

Hartford Line Rail Program | Double Track (Phase 3B) (PDF)
NEC Capital Investment Plan: FY23-27 | October 2022


Connecticut River Bridge Replacement

Hartford Line train crossing the Connecticut River Bridge | Courtesy of CTDOT

Pre-Construction | Oct 2024 – Oct 2026

Construction | Jun 2026 – Jun 2031

This project is for the replacement the Amtrak-owned single track railroad bridge with a new double track bridge in the towns of Enfield and Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

The current bridge, which was built by the American Bridge Company in 1903, carries Amtrak’s Springfield Line over the Connecticut River and the Windsor Locks Canal.

Further reading

Springfield Line: Connecticut River Bridge Replacement (PDF)
NEC Capital Investment Plan: FY23-27 | October 2022


See also

East-West rail in Massachusetts

Infrastructure | Completed Projects

MassDOT Capital Investment Plan

Page last updated: January 26, 2023
Page last reviewed: November 15, 2022