Valley May Get More Frequent Passenger Train Service

The number of passenger trains traveling daily between Springfield and Greenfield -- and possibly Brattleboro -- may go from the currently planned one round trip per day to 10 round trips per day. "The best case timetable would be launching expanded rail passenger service by mid-2015 or 2016," Tim Brennan told the Valley Post on February 19. He is director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission www.pvpc.org.

The plan to increase the number of trains per day has the support of the Pioneer Valley members of the Massachusetts legislature. For it to happen, the plan will need support from other state legislators, and from Governor Deval Patrick.

Faster Amtrak service between Springfield and Brattleboro is expected to start in December. It will reduce the travel time from the current two hours to about an hour. Trains will stop in Northampton and Greenfield, rather than Amherst, where they stop now. Now there is one round trip per day.

In 2016, Amtrak will start traveling significantly faster than it does now between Springfield and New Haven, Connecticut, Brennan said. That train trip will take about as long as the same trip by car. Trains already travel much faster than cars between New Haven and New York City.

One group that lobbies to make Amtrak tickets cheaper -- and for other improvements to the nation's passenger train system -- has a web site at www.narprail.org.

Dan Delabruere works for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. In September 2013, he told the Valley Post that his agency is working on getting Amtrak to go from Brattleboro to Montreal, via Burlington, Vermont. He did not know when that will happen, but said it will happen eventually. Passports will be checked by U.S. and Canadian officials at the train station in downtown Montreal, rather than at the border, he said. This will eliminate the problem of the train having to wait at the border for hours because one passenger doesn't have a passport. Train service from Brattleboro currently goes through a town that neighbors Burlington and ends in Vermont near the Canadian border. Buses connect the train station nearest Burlington with Burlington.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is doing a $5 million study to decide whether to make passenger train service between Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts much faster than it is now.

Comments

On to Montreal

Great news about actual progress. Imagine…train from Northampton to Montreal someday soon. Thanks Eesha.

Awesome

thanks for the news, Eesha.

More frequent trains

The sooner the better! More trains would be great.

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