CT Progressive Democrat

News and Views from CT State Representative David McCluskey / Democrat - West Hartford

Friday, May 28, 2010

New England Rail Coalition Website

The New England Rail Coalition's website is now up and running: www.newenglandrailcoalition.org.

The New England Rail Coalition (NERC) is a broad-based alliance of public and private entities, elected officials, planning organizations, and environmental and transportation groups that recognize the importance of substantially reinvesting in rail – both passenger and freight – to build a balanced and sustainable transportation system that will safeguard and enhance New England’s economy, environment, and quality of life.

NERC believes New England has a number of important rail successes upon which to build, but that significant opportunities exist to develop a rail network that strengthens New England as a region. Such opportunities include:

•Improvements to the speed, frequency and reliability of existing passenger and freight services.
•Relief of chokepoints that interfere with freight rail operations, and which undermine the efficiency of both freight and passenger movement.
•The expansion of critical rail infrastructure, including but not limited to the following projects (listed from north to south):
◦Extension of The Downeaster north of Portland, Maine, and achieving high speed service from Portland, through New Hampshire, to Boston.
◦Establishment of high-speed rail on the Boston-to-Montreal Corridor, linking Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont with one another, and with Canada.
◦Upgrade of track and facilities on Vermont’s Western Corridor to accommodate freight and expand passenger rail to Burlington, VT.
◦Establishment of the Knowledge Corridor, with the rehabilitation of track infrastructure from Springfield, MA to White River Junction, VT, to improve the Amtrak’s Vermonter service, enable future commuter rail, and access three major western MA population centers (Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield).
◦Establishment of the New Hampshire Capitol Corridor, linking three major New Hampshire cities (Concord, Manchester and Nashua) with Boston, and providing access to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
◦The North-South Rail Link connecting North and South Stations in Boston, eliminating the last 1-mile gap on the Eastern Seaboard’s Northeast Corridor, and providing a vital link that enhances the value of other projects located to the north and south of Boston.
◦Enhancement of service on the “Inland Route,” connecting Boston and New York through Worcester, Springfield, Hartford and New Haven.
◦Establishment of Blackstone Valley Commuter Rail, with service between Woonsocket and Providence, RI, to T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, and with potential service to Worcester, MA.
◦Establishment of New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail service, serving population centers in CT and MA.
◦Improvements to the Northeast Corridor, particularly in CT, to reduce trip times on Amtrak’s high speed Acela service.

The website will be a living document. So if you have images (the site could use some good New England freight rail images), or become aware of important news to be added, please submit your ideas. There is a page listing all of NERC’s organizational members, with hyperlinks to each organization (go through the “About Us” page to find).