NNEIRI Study

In 2016 the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Vermont Agency of Transportation, in coordination with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, completed a three-year feasibility and planning study known as the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative (also known as the NNEIRI /nɪri:/ Study).

The lead consultant for the study was HDR Engineering. The firm AECOM was the primary sub-consultant.

The NNEIRI Study examined the opportunities and impacts of adding more frequent and higher speed intercity passenger rail service on two existing rail corridors — the Inland Route and the Boston-to-Montreal Route.

NNEIRI Corridor Study Area | 2016

 


Preferred Build Alternative

The study recommended that the following new services be established.

  • Eight (8) new daily round trip trains between Boston and New Haven,
  • One (1) new daily round trip between Boston and Montreal, and
  • One (1) new daily round trip between New Haven and Montreal.

 

Finding of No Significant Impact | FRA | June 2016

 

The recommended Build Alternative projected total annual ridership of 875,000 passengers.

Source: NNEIRI Study Summary | June 2016
Source: NNEIRI Study Summary | June 2016

 

The capital costs to implement the services of the Preferred Alternative — which includes the purchase of new train sets and infrastructure improvements — would be between $1.1 and $1.2 billion (in 2014 dollars), as detailed in the following chart.

Source: NNEIRI Study Summary | June 2016
Source: NNEIRI Study Summary | June 2016

 

On July 19, 2016 the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative.

The FRA found that no significant environmental impacts would result from adding more frequent and higher speed intercity passenger rail service, in large part due to the use of existing operating rail lines within existing rights-of-way.

At the conclusion of the study MassDOT decided to take no further action with regard to the recommendations of the study.

 


Study output

A printed copy of the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative Study | January 28, 2020

The study produced approximately 1,300 pages of output material, as detailed below.

Study Summary (13 pages)
FRA Finding of No Significant Impact (22 pages)

Part 1A | Project Work Plan (37 pages)
Part 1B | Agency and Stakeholder Involvement Plan (27 pages)
Part 1C | Existing Conditions Assessment Report (59 pages)

Part 2A | 2013 Draft Purpose and Need (13 pages)
Part 2B | Station Site Assessment (76 pages)
Part 2C | Preliminary Service Options Performance Report (62 pages)

Part 3 | Alternative Analysis Report (255 pages)

Part 4A | 2014 Draft Purpose and Need (14 pages)
Part 4B | Tier 1 Environmental Assessment (224 pages)

Part 5A | Inland Route Service Development Plan (105 pages)
Part 5B | Boston-Montreal Service Development Plan (117 pages)

Appendix A.1 | Inland Route Ridership Forecasting (11 pages)
Appendix A.2 | Boston-Montreal Ridership Forecasting (12 pages)

Appendix B.1 | Inland Route Project Cost Estimates (121 pages)
Appendix B.2 | Boston-Montreal Project Cost Estimates (146 pages)

 

PDF copies of the output material from the study can be found on this link.

 


See also

Vermonter Extension to Montreal

East-West Passenger Rail Study (2018–)

 


Further reading

Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative
MassDOT Completed Studies

Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative (archived)
Official study page | MassDOT

Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative (archived)
PDF copies of the study documents

Finding of No Significant Impact – Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative
Federal Railroad Administration | July 14, 2016

 

 

Page last updated: March 2, 2020
Page last reviewed: January 10, 2020