MassDOT begins study on Northern Tier passenger rail service

Franklin County
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GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is looking into the feasibility of restarting passenger rail service from North Adams to Greenfield and Boston.

A study will examine the benefits, costs, and investments needed to create and maintain a passenger rail service with the speed, frequency, and reliability necessary to be a competitive option for travel along this corridor.

This study was required by legislation, passed in 2019, filed by Senator Jo Comerford and supported by Representatives Blais and Domb as well as Senator Adam Hinds. More than 700 western Massachusetts residents submitted testimony on behalf of the enabling legislation when it was heard by the Joint Committee on Transportation.

The study launch meeting is being held on Thursday, December 16, at 1:30 p.m., and is open to the public. Register here: https://www.mass.gov/northern-tier-passenger-rail-study.

In 1875 passenger rail service began that connected Franklin County with Boston along the Route 2 rail corridor. Passenger service from Boston to North Adams ended in 1958, followed by the end of service to Greenfield in 1960. The rail track to Greenfield and North Adams is currently used for freight service only.

“Northern Tier or Route 2 rail is not just a transportation solution,” Comerford offered. “It’s a matter of regional equity. It’s a climate change necessity. It’s an economic development win for western Massachusetts. And it can help solve Boston’s traffic congestion problem and housing shortage — all at the same time.”

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