Western Mass Rail Coalition

Please note
The content on this page represents the views of the Western Mass Rail Coalition. The page is hosted on the Trains In The Valley site for the convenience of the coalition.


Overview

The Western Mass Rail Coalition is a group of rail advocacy groups working together to expand the use of passenger rail in Western Massachusetts.

Early efforts of the Coalition are focused on community-led advocacy on the topic of East-West Passenger Rail, between Pittsfield, Springfield and Boston.

The founding Member Groups in the Coalition are: The Train Campaign, Trains In The Valley, Citizens for a Palmer Rail Stop, and the Chester Railway Station & Museum.

The Western Mass Rail Coalition is a member of Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA).


Mission and Coalition Goals

Mission

To advocate for the development, implementation, operation, sustainability and expansion of publicly-supported passenger rail services that benefit the residents of western Massachusetts.

Coalition goals

  • To bring together representatives of passenger rail advocacy organizations from areas across western Massachusetts in order to further regional advocacy efforts.
  • To advocate for regional passenger rail transportation initiatives that involve Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and/or Hampshire counties in western Massachusetts.
  • To support environmental justice and climate change solutions by advocating for passenger rail planning and development.
  • To redress inequality of opportunity for people living in economically depressed urban and rural areas with inadequate transit options by connecting them to employment and training, educational opportunities, medical appointments, etc.
  • To broadly encourage connectivity between passenger rail and multimodal regional and local transportation services.
  • To collaborate with regional and statewide political and business leaders, and other statewide or national transportation advocacy organizations.
  • To promote transit-oriented development (TOD), regional economic development, and tourism, as it relates to passenger rail services in western Massachusetts.

Further reading

Guiding principles of the Western Mass Rail Coalition (PDF)
As adopted on June 5, 2020


History

Spring of 2019 | The idea to form a coalition came together soon after the publication of the joint Op-ed “Keep East-West Rail on Track” — which was published in The Daily Hampshire Gazette, The Berkshire Eagle, The Berkshire Edge, and The Republican.

2019

June 2019 | All of the key members of the coalition met, for the first time together, to discuss strategy and other topics of mutual interest.

Attendees of the meeting, shown below, were in Springfield to attend the MassDOT-hosted East-West Passenger Rail Advisory Committee #2.

The Western Mass Rail Coalition team
Springfield, Ma. | July 23, 2019

August 2019 | Members of the coalition released the Op-ed “East-West Passenger Rail is on the Right Track” — which was published by The Berkshire Eagle, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, The Recorder, The Westfield News, and The Worcester Telegram.

September 2019 | The Western Mass Rail Coalition became a member of Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA).

2020

February 2020 | The coalition released and distributed (to members of the East-West Rail Study Advisory Committee) this position paper — The Key Elements of an East-West Rail Service.

June 2020 | Members of the coalition finalize a four page document entitled — Guiding principles of the Western Mass Rail Coalition.

July 2020 | The coalition sent a letter to members of the Massachusetts Senate regarding the Senate Bill 2836 — RE: Senate Passage of the Transportation Investment Bill / S.2836.

2021

March 2021 | The coalition sent a letter to members of the Western Mass State Delegation asking them to cosponsor three rail bills — WMRC 2021-22 Legislative Cosponsorship Ask Letter (PDF)

May 5, 2021 | The Western Mass Rail Coalition participated in a press conference hosted by U.S. Sen. Ed Markey at U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern in Worcester. The event marked the reintroduction of the Building Rail Across Intercity Networks To Ride Around Interior of the Nation (BRAIN TRAIN) Act.

Sen. Ed Markey speaks at Worcester Union Station. He is joined by, from left, Rep. Jim McGovern, Transportation for Massachusetts Director Chris Dempsey, Train Campaign Founder Karen Christensen, and Trains In The Valley Co-founder Ben Heckscher | May 5, 2021

May 7, 2021 | Karen Christensen of the Western Mass Rail Coalition and Chris Dempsey of Transportation for Mass. joined Adam Reilly of WGBH News Boston to discuss the future of passenger rail service in Massachusetts. Video: “The Future of Rail in Massachusetts” (12:40).

September 25, 2021 | Members of the Western Mass Rail Coalition and the state legislature join in the celebration one the day the Chester Depot is designated a National Historic Landmark.

Members of the Western Mass Rail Coalition along with Reps. Natalie Blais and Smitty Pignateli in Chester | September 25, 2021

November 17, 2021 | The Western Mass Rail Coalition issues a Media Statement in reaction to the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and MassDOT’s release of the Massachusetts Intercity Passenger Rail Governance White Paper.

2022

January 10, 2022 | The Western Mass Rail Coalition submitted written testimony to the Joint Committee on Transportation in support of H.3532: An Act Relative to an Interstate Compact for Western MA Rail Service, S.2345: An Act to establish fast, frequent, and reliable passenger rail service between Pittsfield and Boston via Springfield, and H.3571: An Act funding a study of passenger service on the Housatonic rail line.


Contact information

The best way to contact the Coalition is to send an email to westernmassrail@gmail.com


WMRC logo file

JPG WMRC logo – 2304 x 1728 pixels

Page last updated: January 12, 2022
Page last reviewed: November 20, 2020