Upgrades Early Step to Prepare Track for South Coast Rail Service
BOSTON- Thursday, November 14, 2013- The Patrick Administration today announced the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is beginning construction to rehabilitate the Fall River and New Bedford railroad lines, a necessary step toward providing South Coast Rail service.
Thousands of rail ties and spikes will be installed along 33 miles of right-of-way leading to Fall River and New Bedford beginning this fall and continuing until winter weather freezes the rail bed. Work will resume in spring 2014.
“South Coast residents deserve the benefits of a reliable and convenient connection to Boston and points in between,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “This work is another step in a methodical, comprehensive process that will move South Coast Rail forward.”
“These track improvements are critical in building the foundation necessary to bring long-awaited passenger train service to the South Coast,” said Secretary Davey. “South Coast Rail represents economic opportunity and smart growth for the cities of New Bedford, Fall River, and Taunton.”
“The upgrades strengthen the track to provide safer operations for current freight service while getting the corridor ready for the complete rehabilitation required to provide higher speed passenger service,” said South Coast Rail Project Manager Jean Fox.
A total of approximately 42,000 rail ties and thousands of spikes will be installed along the 14 miles of track leading to Fall River and 19 miles of track leading to New Bedford. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased the rail lines from CSX Transportation in order to provide access for future South Coast Rail service.
Other investments and milestones supporting South Coast Rail to date include:
·Rebuilding of three New Bedford rail bridges, funded by a $20 million federal TIGER grant.
·Announcement by Governor Deval Patrick in September that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the South Coast Rail project, and MassDOT adopted the Corps’ document as the state-required Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), with the Stoughton rail alternative as the preferred route.
·South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan technical assistance grants and other investments provided to assist the 31 corridor communities in preparing for passenger rail through sustainable development and appropriate land use.
Visit the South Coast Rail website to learn more about the project: http://www.southcoastrail.com/
In 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) was created to unify the state’s various transportation agencies. MassDOT now includes the Highway division, the MBTA and Mass Transit, Aeronautics, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. MassDOT is committed to providing a safe and reliable transportation system to all those who travel in the Commonwealth and works to deliver excellent customer service. MassDOT has been nationally recognized for its innovative approach to transportation, including the Accelerated Bridge Program, the “Where’s My Bus and Train?” apps and “Fast 14” work. For more information, visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot and Facebook at www.facebook.com/massdotinfo.