SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Members of Congress and other local leaders from Connecticut and Massachusetts traveled along the Knowledge Corridor line from New Haven to Springfield, to highlight improvements in rail service along the Connecticut River Valley. Nearly $73 million in federal money has funded projects to improve the rail line, and this trip particularly emphasized the impact that the redeveloped Union Station in Springfield will have on travel through the region.
Among the more than 50 local leaders that made the trip were Congressman Richard Neal (D-Springfield), Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-New Haven). Neal, a former mayor of Springfield who has been in Congress since the late 1980s, has been advocating for improvements along this rail line since 1977.
In addition to the train ride, the journey included tours of New Haven Union Station, Hartford Union Station, and Springfield Union Station, which is currently undergoing an $82 million renovation that is expected to be done in 2016.
“We need to get it back, in terms of not only moving people in a different than automobile mode, but also getting the economic spin-offs that come around a station,” said Tim Brennan, Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.
Neal pointed to the renovation of New Haven’s Union Station as a success story, saying that it provides a great welcome to travelers visiting the city. Neal said that is something he is looking forward to in Springfield.
“When I look at how tasteful the restoration of this Union Station has been, that’s exactly what I had in mind,” Neal said.
High speed trains will be traveling from Connecticut into western Massachusetts starting on December 29.