In 2017 the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Vermont Agency of Transportation, in coordination with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, completed a two-year feasibility and planning study known as the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative (also known as the NNEIRI /nɪri:/ Study).
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.
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.
The recommended Build Alternative projected total annual ridership of 875,000 passengers.
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.
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.
Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative Study Summary (PDF)
MassDOT | June 2016
Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative (archived)
Official study page | MassDOT
Finding of No Significant Impact – Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative(PDF) (archived)
Federal Railroad Administration | July 14, 2016
Page last updated: January 10, 2020
Page last reviewed: January 10, 2020