Study looks into creation of East-West rail line connecting Springfield and Boston

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno provided an update on the future of an east-west rail line connecting Springfield to Boston.

The state has commissioned a $1-million study to look into creating an east-west rail. Mayor Sarno is part of the advisory committee, and he said now is an ideal time to move forward with the rail line.

With a new Union Station and increased trips between New Haven and Springfield, some western Massachusetts residents are still waiting for a better link to Boston.

According to Sarno, the odds of the project becoming a reality are good. Sarno, a member of the East-West Rail Advisory Committee, spoke to a group of residents, many from Springfield and Palmer, about the possibility of creating a rail line connecting Boston and Springfield. 

According to the rail-study overview, potential options could include a shared-rail corridor that wouldn’t require right-of-way changes. This would be the most cost-effective but would be the longest travel time. Alternatives like a high-speed rail would be very costly, as the twists and turns of current rail lines aren’t suited for that type of travel. 

Sarno said the cost for the east-west rail line would be in the billions, but he said with the federal government making plans to invest in infrastructure, now is the time to move forward. He said the line would open up all kinds of opportunity to western Massachusetts. 

Mayor Sarno told 22News, “My whole thing is this, and again, it’s got to be realistic if you could get back and forth from Boston consistently within an hour or a little more than an hour, we’re the golden West here. Everything is so exorbitant in Boston.”

The advisory committee will analyze rail options, looking at travel time, projecting for ridership and necessary investments.

A public meeting on the study will be held this summer, but the final draft report isn’t expected until early 2020.

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