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Rep. Neal to Release Federal Rail Study for Northern New England

SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, dean of the New England congressional delegation, will hold a press conference today in Springfield to release the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative, a study funded by the Federal Railroad Administration and requested by Neal and former U.S. Rep. John Olver to identify and improve rail service in the region, including Springfield to Boston.

At the 2 p.m. event in the Jury Room of the U.S. District Courthouse, 300 State St., Neal will be joined by Astrid Glynn, Rail & Transit administrator at the Mass. Department of Transportation; and Tim Brennan, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.

The Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative (NNEIRI) is a conceptual planning study that examines the benefits, opportunities, and impacts of adding more frequent and higher-speed inter-city passenger rail service on two rail corridors, the inland route and the Boston-to-Montreal route.

The inland route would run between Boston and New Haven, Conn. via Springfield. The Boston-to-Montreal route would run between Boston and Montreal, Quebec via Springfield. The two routes would share the trackage between Boston and Springfield. The combination of these two rail routes defines the study area that is collectively identified as the NNEIRI Corridor.

The NNEIRI study was developed jointly between the Mass. Department of Transportation and the Vermont Agency for Transportation with support from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Additional stakeholders included the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, the Quebec Ministry of Transportation, private-sector railroads, and regional planning agencies.

“More than 2 million people live within three miles of a station along this corridor,” said FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg. “For everyone to move safely and efficiently, this region needs a robust rail system, and this blueprint will help achieve that goal.”

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