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North-South Expanded Western Mass. Rail Service Awaits Completed Passenger Platform

Rail passengers in western Massachusetts looking to travel north or south may be able to ride more frequent trains as soon as next month. But that depends on whether a pilot program between Springfield and Greenfield takes off on time.

The two-year pilot will add two round trips per day to the northern route, and will make stops in Holyoke and Northampton as well as Greenfield.

Tim Brennan, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission — one of the groups involved in planning the program — said it could start at the end of August.

“It could be longer,” he said. “Much is tied to completing a high-level passenger platform at Springfield Union Station, which Amtrak requires in order to launch the new service.”

An $8.2 million train passenger platform in Springfield is needed to accommodate people with disabilities. It's being paid for by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

The route will allow people in Greenfield to take the train to New York City, and back home in the same day, Brennan said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed Amherst as one of the train stops. It should have said Northampton. The story also said there would be four additional round trips per day. The correct number is two.

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