The railroad corridor that travels through western Massachusetts into Vermont and New Hampshire, following the Connecticut River, has been termed the “Knowledge Corridor” in recognition of the colleges and universities along the route. The Amtrak Vermonter service currently operates on this corridor, with a daily stop in Claremont on its route between St. Albans, VT and Washington, DC. Stops in Vermont border communities, such as White River Junction, also serve New Hampshire residents.
In an effort to expand or enhance service along the Knowledge Corridor, several improvements are underway or are in the works. Neighboring states are also evaluating longer-term prospects for restoring rail service to Montreal.
The New England Central Railroad has made extensive upgrades throughout the Knowledge Corridor to improve safety, reduce maintenance costs and to increase train speeds. Additionally, improvements are underway that would allow the Vermonter to be relocated to its original route between Vermont and Springfield, MA, which would save 25 minutes in travel times, and would allow new stops to be added in Massachusetts. Improvements are expected to be completed by late 2014 or early 2015.
For more information on the “Knowledge Corridor - Restore Vermonter” project, visit: www.massdot.state.ma.us/knowledgecorridor/.
Commuter rail service is also being developed between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield within the Knowledge Corridor. Work is scheduled to begin in late 2016. For more information, visit: www.nhhsrail.com.
In addition, the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative is facilitating a cooperative effort to evaluate more frequent and higher-speed rail service on rail service between Boston, Springfield and New Haven, as well as Boston, Springfield and Montreal. The study, which involves three states, Amtrak and the Province of Quebec, will evaluate ridership potential and environmental impacts, and will include service development plans for the two routes. For more information on this study, visit: www.massdot.state.ma.us/Planning/Main/CurrentStudies/NorthernNewEnglandRailStudy.aspx.