NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A new high speed rail service is coming to Western Massachusetts soon. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says the high speed rail service will start running through the Pioneer Valley in just two months.
New high speed trains will be making their first stop in Northampton on December 29th. The $73 million project will have trains stopping in Springfield, Holyoke, and also Greenfield. The current train service goes to Palmer before making its way through Amherst. Trains haven’t stopped in Northampton in more than 20 years, when the tracks had to close because of repair.
Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz told 22News, “I think we’re kind of restoring it back to the way it was and should be, and I think it’s going to be a real benefit for cities and towns up and down the Pioneer Valley.”
The Knowledge Corridor line goes from Washington DC to Burlington, Vermont, cutting down on travel time.
At Union Station, there will be a temporary platform built in time for the train to come through Northampton in December, and throughout 2015, crews will be building a permanent platform.
The train will mostly travel at about 70 miles per hour, but it will go slower through Northampton because of the curves.
Many travelers and residents in Northampton are looking forward to the new rail service.
Susan Hess from Philadelphia told 22News she travels to Northampton often to see her family, and is looking forward to the new railway. “We now have to drive from Philly to see our family, so it would be great to have public transportation.”
Jennifer Cavalet of Northampton says, “I think the united states in general needs more high speed rail so we can be less dependent on our cars.”
22News asked about the train fares, but the Massachusetts Department of Transportation hasn’t given that information.
Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz says there will be programs to educate nearby schools and residents about railway safety. He also says a bike tunnel will be built under the Northampton railway for bikers to continue traveling to Hadley and Amherst.