SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Congressman Richard Neal and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy are teaming up to expand railway service through western Massachusetts.Rail service in Springfield could finally expand all the way to Boston.
Under the plan, they would use existing Amtrak rail service from New Haven to Springfield, and have it serve as a mid-point for a new commuter service to Boston. The entire corridor would look like an “upside down L” shape.
The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission said they’ve found many people from New Haven wanting service to Boston. Springfield’s new Union Station would act as a midpoint. Plans are already in the works to have commuter service from New Haven to Springfield by 2018.
Tim Brennan, the Executive Director at PVPC, said, “We have a great deal of work going on both the Connecticut and Massachusetts sides, on the north to south; but as Congressman Neal alluded to, if you forget east to west, you’re missing a huge piece of the puzzle.”
Congressman Neal said, “We need to figure out how to get from Springfield to Worcester. Worcester to Boston route is in pretty good shape; the track’s in good shape. The Springfield to Worcester track is in bad shape.”
12 trains will make stops when Springfield’s Union Station will open at the end of this year. Add service to Boston, and it would more than double. Now, both states need to show their commitment to its project. If the railway is expanded, about half a million passengers would travel each year from New Haven to Boston. It would take 15 years to build the service.
“This is a game changer for our region,” says Brennan. “It’s a game changer for Connecticut. It’s where transportation is going in terms of the ability to attract and keep young workers. It’s also very important to older folks as they can’t drive, perhaps.”
Congressman Neal told 22News they didn’t decide who would operate the Springfield to Boston rail service.
Governor Malloy said he’s happy to work with Governor Charlie Baker on this project. Malloy plans to work on this with the Springfield chamber of commerce.