Local lawmakers call on legislators to expand rail service to northwest MA

Franklin County

GREENFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – Both State Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton) and State Representative Mindy Domb (D-Amherst) are calling on the Transportation Committee to study the feasibility of a northern rail route, restoring existing tracks linking Boston, Greenfield, and North Adams.

“Trying to go to Boston for musical things as a teenager was always a large endeavour trying to see who had a car and how many can we get in there, and to make it more of an accessible way of getting there, I think would be great for a lot of people,” said Sun Jenson of Shelburne Falls.

The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce supports the possibility of expanding all rail service in western Massachusetts.

Executive Director Diana Szynal told 22News, “We’ve been focusing for years on a north-south [expansion]. The prospect of an east-west [expansion] is really exciting to us and obviously having it up at the northern end of the state would be just such a huge benefit to Franklin County towns and Greenfield.”

Senator Jo Comerford, who filed the bill, said re-establishing a rail line along the Route 2 corridor would not only make it easier to get into Boston but would give commuters a more environmentally-friendly option.

A track along Route 2 could also benefit local businesses.

“I think it would open up all of the towns along this* corridor, like Fitchburg, Orange, and Athol and all these little towns that need an economic boost,” said Paul Labrecque of Greenfield.

State Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) has advocated for a high-speed rail link that would connect Boston to Springfield and Pittsfield. The state is currently conducting a study of that proposal.

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