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MassDOT Evaluating Six Plans For East-West Rail

This is a picture of an Amtrak train

   The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is examining six options for east-west passenger rail.

    Five of the plans revealed Tuesday by MassDOT would make various upgrades and improvements to an existing rail corridor now used primarily by freight trains.

    One proposal is to construct a new high speed rail line that would run roughly parallel to I-90. It would allow for 16 train trips per day with a Springfield-Boston travel time of 80 minutes.

   MassDOT did not announce a cost estimate for any of the proposals.

   Democratic State Senator Eric Lesser of Longmeadow said the options are “exciting”

    "The real takeaway here is: this is a feasible project," said Lesser. "This can happen if we marshall the political will, if we keep at it."

   A final east-west rail feasibility study is due next year.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.