Valley to NYC Trains Get Faster, More Frequent, Cheaper

Next month, Amtrak will get faster between the Valley and New York City. Also next month, passenger train service between Springfield, Hartford, and New York City will get much more frequent and much cheaper. By December, there will be more frequent passenger train service between Greenfield, Northampton, Holyoke, and New York City.

These victories are the result of work by volunteer activists in Northampton who have a web site at www.TrainsInTheValley.org. One of the activists is Ben Heckscher. “The scheduled time between Springfield and New Haven will be faster once the new schedule is implemented (on June 9),” he told the Valley Post on May 6. “Initially it will be about ten minutes faster and then later in the year it should be 20 minutes faster, when some of the speed is increased to 110 miles-per-hour along certain parts of the line.” Passenger train service between New Haven and New York City is very frequent. It is fast on the Amtrak Acela (expensive) and cheap on MetroNorth (slow). Regular Amtrak is medium fast and medium price.

Details about the more frequent and cheaper passenger train service between Springfield and New York City that will start next month are at www.HartfordLine.com.

Tim Brennan is the director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, a government agency with 47 employees. “MassDOT and ConnDOT have recently reached an agreement that will allow select Amtrak trains to travel north from Springfield to serve the cities of Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield,” Brennan told the Valley Post on May 7. “The expanded service goal between Springfield and Greenfield remains two additional round trips in the morning and two additional round-trips in the late afternoon/evening. Our ongoing and firm goal is to have this expanded level of service launched as a pilot service before the end of calendar year 2018 and I think this a reasonable expectation.”

Brennan went on, “In the draft version of the new Massachusetts State Rail Plan which was released in February, MassDOT unhappily does not commit to moving forward with an east-west passenger rail connection linking Boston and Springfield but for an array of reasons says that this rail connection will be subjected to further study. We’ve strongly urged MassDOT to re-consider this decision.”

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.

Traveling by train rather than by car is better for the environment and safer.

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The below photos were taken in Amherst on May 8. They show people walking, and a man riding a bicycle. To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full size image.” photos by Eesha Williams

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