State Announces Plan to Move Knowledge Corridor Rail Project Forward
GREENFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Governor Deval Patrick brings good news for western Massachusetts rail service during a stop in Greenfield.
The Governor announced that the state is purchasing the PanAm Southern rail line. By doing so, the state would restore the Knowledge Corridor rail line.
Governor Patrick arrived at Wednesday’s news conference by train.
The 49-mile track the state is purchasing will run from East Northfield to Springfield, including stops in Greenfield, Northampton, and Holyoke.
The project will also restore the original route of Amtrak’s Vermonter between St. Albans, Vt. and Washington DC.
The route restoration is designed to provide more efficient passenger and freight service which the Governor says will take trucks off the roads reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Bringing the Vermonter back along the Knowledge Corridor is good for all the cities where it will stop and it will take some half an hour, I think, off of the travel time because it’s a more efficient route,” Patrick explains.
Timothy Brennan, the Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, says young people and seniors are interested in train travel. “People are hungry for an alternative to the automobile. Some of that is practical about your pocketbook, cost is going up, gas is unpredictable,” he says.
Governor Patrick says train travel has always been good for the local economies and this case is no exception. “It’s investments like these that catalyze private sector investment and job growth and that’s a proven,” he adds.
The project began in August of 2012 and includes the replacement of 95,000 rail ties.
The $115 million project is being funded with a $75 million federal grant and $40 million in state funds.
The work is expected to be complete in 2016 after the start of passenger service.