“I am thrilled we were able to secure this critical funding for central and western Massachusetts, which will lay the foundation for West-East Rail,” said Governor Maura Healey. “From day one, we said our administration was going to compete for an unprecedented level of federal funding opportunities, and I’m proud to say we are delivering on that promise."
“Working with our elected leaders, municipal officials, Amtrak, CSX, and other partners, we will be launching capital projects on this corridor which will have long-term positive economic impacts on the region, which will allow for additional corridor capacity, and which will decrease travel times between station destinations,” said Acting Transportation Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt.
The CRISI grant, totaling more than $108 million, will go toward the total project cost of approximately $135 million. MassDOT also plans to contribute more than $18 million and Amtrak $9 million toward the total project cost. The application described the planned improvements:
- Facilitating two Amtrak Inland Route daily round trips as a first phase of corridor improvements that improve connections within Massachusetts between Boston, Worcester, and Springfield and to communities beyond the Commonwealth in Connecticut and New York City. In addition to the two new daily trains, travel times will be improved for the existing Amtrak Lake Shore Limited, enhancing connections from Eastern Massachusetts to Pittsfield, Albany, New York, and other upstate New York communities.
- Increasing operational efficiency and flexibility by reducing passenger and freight train conflicts and reducing travel times along the remaining single-track segments on the CSX-owned segment between Worcester and Springfield. These improvements are a necessary first step for increasing train frequency and speed along the Inland Route Corridor and the corridor between Boston and Albany, New York.
- Including infrastructure improvements that result in increased train speeds and additional corridor capacity along the 53-mile section of the CSX Boston & Albany Line between Worcester and Springfield. The extension of existing passing siding capacity and other track improvements will increase the Maximum Authorized Speed to 80 mph and minimize train delays along the 44-mile single-track segment. In addition, a siding will be constructed in Grafton, Massachusetts, that will improve the efficiency and capacity of freight interchange with Grafton & Upton Railroad while also minimizing the freight impacts to passenger operations.