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Track Improvements, Purchase: Historic Steps toward Passenger Rail Service between the Berkshires and New York City



 
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Dear Friend, 

We are thrilled to tell you that yesterday the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board of Directors authorized Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey, whom many of you have written to recently, to enter into a series of agreements with the Housatonic Railroad. Housatonic is selling the underlying rail asset to MassDOT, which in turn is granting Housatonic a perpetual rail-freight easement, and MassDOT will invest $35 million into railroad improvement. All investments in the property will be to passenger standard, laying the groundwork for passenger rail service between Pittsfield, MA, and Grand Central Terminal in New York City.
 
This agreement is phase one. Phase two will provide stations, passenger-rail-related signals, and additional track work. Phase two will start when funding for the Connecticut portion is secured, so the Train Campaign will be putting much effort into building support in our sister state, as well as in educating our friends and neighbors in Massachusetts about the amazing opportunities that passenger rail service will bring to our region. Bring on the trains!
 
Below is the MassDOT press release and contact information. Please do send emails of support to Mr. Davey: richard.davey@state.ma.us.

VOLUNTEERS MEETING TOMORROW, FRIDAY 18 JULY, 9AM IN GREAT BARRINGTON – LET US KNOW IF YOU CAN COME BY EMAIL: info@berkshiretraincampaign.org.

From the right: Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey, Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Housatonic Railroad president John Hanlon, Governor Deval Patrick, Ed Rodriguez, and others from Housatonic and MassDOT/MBTA who helped get the train to the Berkshires and operated it over the line. State Senator Ben Downing was also present. The photo was taken by Housatonic spokesman Colin Pease.
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For Immediate Release: 07/16/2014
CONTACT: MassDOT Press Office: 857-368-8500

MASSDOT BOARD OF DIRECTORS APPROVES PURCHASE OF BERKSHIRE RAIL LINE FROM HOUSATONIC RAILROAD COMPANY: Purchase, Track Improvements Historic Steps toward Passenger Rail Service between the Berkshires and New York City

LAWRENCE- Wednesday, July 16, 2014- The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board of Directors today authorized MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey to execute an agreement to purchase the Berkshire Line from the Housatonic Railroad Company, a major step toward delivering passenger rail service between New York City and the Berkshires. The agreement includes $12.13 million to acquire the line and an estimated $35 million for initial track improvements, funded by the 2014 Transportation Bond Bill approved by the legislature. The Berkshire Line extends approximately 37 miles from the Connecticut border in Sheffield through Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lee, and Lenox to Pittsfield, where it joins the CSXT Railroad main line.

"Studies have shown that a Berkshire County rail connection to New York City would be a winner, with more than one million rides annually," said Secretary Davey. "This purchase and the initial upgrades in the line represent historic steps toward improved access to the Berkshires for tourists and residents alike."

The initial track improvements will permit the operation of passenger trains but serve freight trains until the Connecticut portion of the project is completed. A final round of track improvements will be required along with improvements on the Connecticut portion of the line prior to the start of passenger rail service. The Transportation Bond Bill included $113 million for the purchase and Massachusetts portion of the track improvements. A date for the beginning of passenger service is dependent upon completion of the upgrades in both states.
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For more information, visit MassDOT www.mass.gov/massdot or its blog http://blog.mass.gov/transportation/, or follow MassDOT: http://twitter.com/MassDOT and www.facebook.com/massdotinfo.
 
Donate today or become a sponsor, and thank you again for being a part of the Train Campaign!

Warm regards, Karen.

Karen Christensen and the Train Campaign team
karen@berkshirepublishing.com
www.TrainCampaign.org

Copyright © 2014 The Train Campaign, All rights reserved.


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