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New Train Service Planned For Pioneer Valley, And A Study For East-West Rail

The Baker administration has announced two major steps towards increased train service in western Massachusetts.

In a visit Tuesday to Springfield's Union Station, Governor Charlie Baker and state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said that north-south rail service between Greenfield and New Haven -- what's known as the "knowledge corridor" -- will add several more daily trips.

Currently there's just one trip each day in either direction that goes that far north, as part of Amtrak's Vermonter route.

Pollack said that after about a year of track preparation, a pilot for increased Amtrak service will start next summer, and it will link to the new Hartford Line that's starting this week.

In addition, the state is requesting proposals for a study of east-west rail between western Massachusetts and Boston -- a service local leaders have long pushed for.

"Some people have argued that we need to make a choice between connections to our south and better connections to our east," Pollack said. "The actions we're taking today acknowledge that both are important, although different."

Pollack said the east-west rail study will include the Berkshires and take about 18 months to complete.

Karen Brown is a radio and print journalist who focuses on health care, mental health, children’s issues, and other topics about the human condition. She has been a full-time radio reporter for NEPM since 1998.
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