East-West Rail Service One Small Step Closer
There is still a lot of talk about east-west train service from Boston to Western Massachusetts, including Pittsfield. At a recent meeting in Springfield, rail passengers and rail enthusiasts heard presentations from the Rail Users Network with the Pioneer Valley Planning commission and rail advocacy group, Trains in the valley. During the meeting, The Massachusetts Department of Transportation reported that it has retained a consulting firm for $1 million to study the feasibility of east-west rail from Boston through Worcester to Springfield and as far west as Pittsfield.
According to Masslive.com, Victoria Mier, a spokeswoman for MDOT said work could begin as soon as the deal is final and a notice to proceed is issued.
Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, announced the study in June.
Part of the discussion included, Timothy Brennan, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission saying consultants will look at six options, each with different speeds and a different number of stops along the way. The goal is trips under two hours between Springfield and Boston. Critics will say they can easily beat two hours traveling by automobile.
The idea behind all this planning is not just to start train service but to improve connections between eastern and western Massachusetts.
Also, People backing the Berkshire Flyer also had an update at the forum: Masslive reports that Thomas Matuszko, executive director of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, said the hope is to have passenger service from Pittsfield to New York's Penn Station in 2020.