SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts community leaders took a train ride today to highlight upgrades on the railway system and how to improve it.
Union Station in Springfield is currently undergoing an $82 million renovation expected to be completed in 2016, and Massachusetts leaders are looking to other stations down the line for ideas.
On and off the tracks commuters say work needs to be done. Markese Thomas, of Springfield told 22News “You gotta work on the whole thing if you ask its kind of a little raggedy and busted down.”
Some lawmakers believe older train stations need upgrades along the Knowledge Corridor through southern New England. About $73 million in federal stimulus funds have been spent for rail line revitalization.
Mass. leaders toured Union Stations in New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield.
The most recent development will be a commuter train that will travel at an average speed of 75 mph with new track that will be a quieter ride. Twelve additional trains will be stopping Springfield every day in a couple of years.
Tim Brennan, Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, “It’s going to be a very robust service in Springfield and the hope is that we can keep that and the hope is that we can full further north up the valley.”
Congressman Richard Neal- who has been working to improve Union Station since the 70’s- told 22News it’s about improving transportation services for the future while preserving the history of New England.
“It’s not only a reminder of nostalgia but its also the important opportunity of event for the future of economic development,” Neal said.
The new high speed commuter rail line is expected to open on December 29th. It will stop in Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton, and Greenfield.