Valley Flyer

New service between Greenfield and New Haven with scheduled connections to Amtrak and Metro-North at New Haven Union Station

Planned Start of Service
Fri. August 30, 2019¹

¹ This tentative date is contingent on the resolution of a number of open issues as detailed in the Current status section below. The date noted is from a presentation that was made by the MassDOT Rail & Transit Administrator to the MassDOT Board of Directors on July 22, 2019. A link to this presentation can be found at the bottom of this page, under Further reading.

 

The southbound Amtrak Vermonter arriving in Holyoke, Ma. | Courtesy of WAMC

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) will add additional passenger rail service in the Pioneer Valley, with new direct service operating between Greenfield and New Haven. The tentative date for the start of service is Friday, August 30, 2019.

The Valley Flyer will be operated by Amtrak with two trains from Greenfield to New Haven in the morning and two trains north from New Haven to Greenfield in the evening. All of the new trains will have scheduled connections with both Amtrak and Metro-North service at New Haven Union Station.

On weekends and holidays one new train will operate in each direction.

This service is designed for people in our region who wish to travel south to New York City, as example, in the morning and/or return to the region by train in the evening.

The service will be provided until the fall of 2021 on a pilot basis.

MassDOT has established a goal of 24,000 new annual riders from our region. If the goal is not met MassDOT has said that the service will be discontinued.

If the goal is met the service is expected to continue. If the goal is significantly exceeded added intercity rail service north of Springfield could be considered, up to and including an extension of some Hartford Line service north to Greenfield.

 


Current status²

Infrastructure work on the rail corridor, in advance of the start of the new service, is nearing completion or is now complete.

Before the new service can start a number of significant issues must first be resolved. These issues include:

  • Expedited Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) approval of added safety features affecting freight as well as passenger operations on the MassDOT-owned Connecticut River Main Line
  • Opening of the new high-level platform at Springfield Union Station
  • Acceleration of infrastructure work along the rail corridor to minimize later disruptions, and
  • FRA approval of a revised exemption from the requirement for Positive Train Control

² This information is from a presentation that was made by the MassDOT Rail & Transit Administrator to the MassDOT Board of Directors on July 22, 2019. A link to this presentation can be found at the bottom of this page, under Further reading.

Updates

August 12, 2019 | Amtrak started testing the new service on the rail corridor. The testing consists of added trains between Greenfield and Springfield that are being run during the overnight hours. The test runs are expected to continue until August 19th.

 


Background

The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), the Franklin Regional Council of Governments and many elected officials in the region have been advocating for additional passenger rail service north of Springfield for many years now.

Amtrak’s existing Vermonter service, while greatly preferable to no service at all, has drawbacks that are not easily overcome.

Simply stated — the Vermonter only operates once a day in each direction, is scheduled and priced for longer-distance travel, and departs at a time of day that makes it impossible to travel south and return in the same day.

Efforts to expand service north of Springfield stem from the completion of the PVPC’s Knowledge Corridor Passenger Rail Feasibility Study  (PDF) in 2009. The study assessed the feasibility of future passenger rail improvements intended to reduce travel time, maximize accessibility, and provide viable transportation alternatives within the Knowledge Corridor.

 


Station information

Local station specific information can be found on these links:

Amtrak Station | Greenfield, Ma. (GFD)

Amtrak Station | Holyoke, Ma. (HLK)

Amtrak Station | Northampton, Ma. (NHT)

Amtrak Station | Springfield Union Station (SPG)

 


Timetable

 

Coming soon!

 

Please note that we unfortunately don’t know when Amtrak will be posting the schedule for this new service on their website. We and many others hope they post it soon.

 


Accommodations and amenities on board

Coach Class seating

Free Wi-Fi Onboard

Take your pet with you

 

It is our understanding that bicycles will not be allowed on the Valley Flyer at this time. For information on Amtrak’s bicycle policy visit Amtrak.

 


Sample Amtrak fares¹

One-way in Coach (Adult)

  • Greenfield
  • ⮂ Springfield | to be announced
  • ⮂ Hartford, CT | to be announced
  • ⮂ New Haven, CT | to be announced
  • ⮂ Stamford, CT (*) | to be announced
  • ⮂ New York Penn Station (*) | to be announced
  • Northampton
  • ⮂ Springfield, CT | to be announced
  • ⮂ Hartford, CT | to be announced
  • ⮂ New Haven | to be announced
  • ⮂ Stamford, CT (*) | to be announced
  • ⮂ New York Penn Station (*) | to be announced

 

(*) via connecting Amtrak Northeast Regional service at New Haven Union Station

Discounted fares are available for Children (12 and under), Seniors (65 and­ over), Military (Active), Veterans Advantage, and members of the Rail Passengers Association.

 


Tickets (starting soon)

Tickets, when they become available, can be purchased on the Amtrak website | Amtrak.com

Tickets may also be purchased by calling Amtrak (1-800-USA-RAIL), or by visiting the staffed Amtrak ticket office at Springfield Union Station.

 


See also

Other Rail Travel Options in the Pioneer Valley

Amtrak Vermonter

Hartford Line

 


Further reading

Valley Flyer (official site) – in planning

Greenfield Pilot: Update (PDF)
Presentation by the MassDOT Rail & Transit Administrator to the MassDOT Board of Directors | July 22, 2019

“Marketing money for Knowledge Corridor caps drive for extra train runs”
By Anita Fritz | The Recorder | July 25, 2019

 

 

Page last updated: August 15, 2019
Page last reviewed: July 11, 2019