East-West rail more likely after passing of major infrastructure bill

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Taking a train from Springfield to Boston is getting closer to becoming a reality. As of right now, you can take a train from Springfield to Yankee Stadium, but not from Springfield to Fenway Park. After the passing of a major infrastructure bill, that could soon change.

For the first time in years, there is real optimism for passengers to travel across Massachusetts by train from east to west. President Joe Biden signed a massive infrastructure bill that will bring billions of dollars to the nation’s rail service, and some say it’s the most important piece of legislation in railroad history. The legislation that was passed on Monday provides an unprecedented $66 billion in funding for passenger rail. It also creates a new grant program that would allow for a new and expanded passenger rail corridor such as the east-west passenger rail in the state of Massachusetts.

“The potential exists now really for the first time that there is a funding source that could be available that could provide rail service between Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield and maybe even extending to Albany.” said Ben Heckscher, Co-Founder of Trains In The Valley.

Right now, driving the Mass Pike is the fastest way to get to Boston from Springfield. A study that was done earlier this year found three options for connecting Pittsfield to Boston and all three include stops in Springfield, Palmer, and Worcester. Depending on the which route is chosen, commute time from Springfield to Boston would be anywhere from two hours to just over one and a half hours.

“The next stop is we need MassDOT to figure out how this is going to work at the bigger level and then reach out to CSX who owns the freight line here in Springfield to see exactly what needs to be done.” said Heckscher.

There is still more work to be done. It’s still not known who would manage the east-west rail.

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