HOLYOKE – Monday, August 27, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today joined Congressman John Olver, Congressman Richard Neal and Mayor Alex Morse of Holyoke for a first look at the potential site of the upcoming Holyoke Passenger Rail platform and announced construction is now underway to restore passenger rail service along the Connecticut River rail line, known as the Knowledge Corridor.
Funded through a $73 million federal grant by President Barack Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program, the Knowledge Corridor project will restore Amtrak's intercity passenger train service to its original route by relocating the Vermonter from the New England Central Railroad back to its former route on the Pan Am Southern Railroad.
“Investing in passenger rail service along the Knowledge Corridor is one example of how government is working to promote economic development in all regions of the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “My sincere thanks goes to Congressman Olver and Congressman Neal who are making this project a reality.”
Construction is currently underway to replace 20,000 rail ties from Greenfield to the Vermont border. The Knowledge Corridor project is on track to bring rail service to Northampton and Greenfield in 2014. Holyoke is beginning the design process for Holyoke Train Station and rail work is expected to begin this fall.
“I am extremely pleased that federal funding could be used to return the Amtrak Vermonter to its original line along the Connecticut River,” said Congressman Olver. “This investment, coupled with rail improvements in Vermont and Connecticut, increases economic development opportunities for communities like Holyoke while providing residents with enhanced rail service and shorter travel times.”
“I am pleased to join federal, state and local partners announcing rail expansion in Holyoke, which is part of the larger $73 million federal investment John Olver and I secured for rail transportation along the Knowledge Corridor,” said Congressman Neal. “Combined with Union Station in Springfield, western Massachusetts is primed to become a hub for New England. Today marks our continued joint effort for economic development and job creation.”
“MassDOT is pleased to partner with the city of Holyoke. This Knowledge Corridor is a great example of our statewide rail initiative that is providing more opportunity for all residents and the visitors to the Commonwealth,” said Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey
“Passenger rail returning to Holyoke is a critical component of our strategy to connect, construct and create a revitalized Center City and I look forward to coordinating with MassDOT on the construction of Holyoke's platform,” said Mayor Alex B. Morse
"Restoration of passenger rail service to the city of Holyoke and other parts of the Pioneer Valley is a critical step in ensuring economic opportunities for the citizens of this region," said Senator Michael Knapik. "I am pleased this federal, state and local partnership has recognized the importance of rail transit for tourism, commerce and job creation."