Palmer residents want easier access to rail travel

Cost of building a station in Palmer is between $12M and $14M

train tracks
Photo Courtesy: MGNonline

PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – The Town of Palmer is currently working on plans to expand passenger rail service by adding a station.

Citizens for a Palmer Rail Stop and the Palmer Town Council met for the second time this year on Tuesday to talk about passenger trains stopping in Palmer.

“Right now there’s a commuter rail between Worcester and Boston, but there’s no passenger rail or commuter rail between Worcester and Springfield, and that’s a pretty big chunk of the state that’s missing that,” said Anne Miller of Palmer.

This proposal is part of the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative, which envisions passenger service from Springfield to Boston, with stops in Palmer and Worcester.

Palmer gas and old railroad depot building that’s been closed for 40 years, but exactly where a new station would be located, has been narrowed to three possible locations.

Director of Palmer Redevelopment Authority Joseph Turek told 22News, “What our job is, is to take a look at everything and pick out a spot that economically is the best for the Town of Palmer, but we also look at the neighboring towns and how it can help them as well.”

The estimated cost of building a station in Palmer is between $12-million and $14-million.

According to Dana Roscoe of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, “There are bond funds, Massachusetts makes bond funds available for construction of rail projects so that would be the likely source.”

“This would be a big opportunity for Palmer and for the region if this were to come true,” said Donald Blais of Palmer.

There is no set timeline to begin construction of the new platform if the proposals are approved, but it would likely take several years.