Amtrak Getting Faster Between Valley and NYC

In January, Amtrak will get at least 35 minutes faster between the Valley and New York City. This victory is the result of the work of environmental activists. Traveling by train rather than by car is better for the environment, and safer.

Currently, one Amtrak train per day runs north, and one runs south, between Springfield and Brattleboro, via Holyoke, Northampton, and Greenfield. “The plan is to have two trains in the morning and two in the evening, in addition to the existing trains,” Tim Brennan told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on April 27. He is the director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, a government agency with 47 employees. “In the past month, we started working toward using Amtrak trains for the commuter train. We're waiting for Amtrak to give us a cost estimate. The best case scenario is for expanded service to start in fall 2018.” This date depends on how many people contact their local, state, and national politicians to express support for more trains in the Valley.

In 2015, more than 15,000 people in Massachusetts had more than $1 million in annual income. Increasing taxes on the rich is one way to pay for programs to protect the environment and help poor people.

There are already seven round-trip Amtrak trains per day between Springfield and New York City. Having the Springfield-Greenfield commuter train line extend to Brattleboro would depend on funding from the state of Vermont. The state of Vermont funds Amtrak at a much higher per capita rate than most states. That's why it costs just $18 to travel from Brattleboro to Burlington by train, a trip of about 150 miles. The train trip is almost as fast as driving. (The Burlington station is called "Essex Junction.")

In January, Amtrak will get at least 35 minutes faster between the Valley and New York City. That's according to:

www.nhhsrail.com/objectives/expanded_network.aspx

That victory is the result of the work of activists who have web sites at:

www.TrainsInTheValley.org

www.RailVermont.org

www.narpRail.org

Massachusetts state Senator Eric Lesser lives in the town of Longmeadow, which borders Springfield. "Fast, frequent, reliable train service between Springfield and Boston could transform our economy and create thousands of new jobs for western Massachusetts families," Lesser told the Valley Post last year.

In California, construction is underway on new Amtrak train tracks between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Trains there will travel at up to 200 mph. Details are at www.hsr.ca.gov.

Not all news in the world of trains is good. President Trump recently proposed cutting Amtrak's budget. If congress approves Trump's plan, 220 towns and cities in the USA would no longer have Amtrak service. None of those places are in the Valley. More than 200,000 people marched in Washington, DC on April 29 calling on Trump and congress to address climate change. Trains use far less fossil fuels on a "passenger mile" basis than cars, trucks, and SUVs. The protest was organized by 350.org and other groups.

In other news from the Valley, hundreds of people marched in Springfield and Northampton on May 1. They were calling for more rights for undocumented immigrants, higher wages for workers, and other issues. The marches were organized by the Pioneer Valley Workers Center www.pvWorkersCenter.org and other groups.

Comments

trains to Brattleboro

Very glad to see the possible service improvements. We especially need more trains as well as faster service. The bike pilot was a great success, I heard. Is it being made permanent? What about making both VT trains go all the way to Montreal?

Thanks for your work.

Joe Berry, Jamaica, VT and Berkeley, CA

Thank you! The bike program

Thank you! The bike program is permanent: www.amtrak.com/bikes-on-the-vermonter-train

Amtrak service from Brattleboro to Montreal is expected to start in 2019, according to:

www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/politics/2016/03/29/amtrak-montre...

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