MassDOT analyzing costs, benefits, economic impacts of East-West Rail to Boston

Hampden County

MassDOT updated western Massachusetts residents on the status of the East-West Rail Study Tuesday night.

It was the first public meeting held to inform residents about the status of the study, and to let people know about travel alternatives. MassDOT is looking to provide western Massachusetts residents a faster way to get to Boston.

They’re conducting a $1 million East-West Rail Study to analyze the costs, benefits, and economic impacts of an East to West high-speed rail between Pittsfield and Boston.

State and local leaders, as well as residents, attended Tuesday’s night’s meeting in Springfield to hear about the current findings of the study.

“Right now, we’re still trying to look at baseline conditions and get a better sense of the market from Boston to Pittsfield and as well as the existing conditions along the rail corridor,” said Jennifer Slesinger, transportation planner for MassDOT.

Some of the aspects of the study include corridor alignment, potential stations and achievable travel time. Slesinger said the number of stops on the rail-route will depend on how fast the trains travel.

MassDOT is looking at potential speeds ranging from 60 to 175 miles an hour.

One West Stockbridge resident said rail service would eliminate the traffic he has to deal with when he visits his daughter in Boston.

“You get to where you’re going in a much more relaxed mood and again you can be more productive during the time you’re traveling as opposed to traveling in a car,” Eddie Sporn of West Stockbridge told 22News.

MassDOT plans to make investments to expand terminal capacity at potential stations along the route.

Several more public information sessions are expected to be held prior to the study’s conclusion in spring 2020.

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