Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced new passenger rail service is coming to western Massachusetts next year.
Speaking in Springfield’s Union Station Tuesday, the Republican governor said a deal has been finalized to have Amtrak operate commuter trains between Springfield and Greenfield on a pilot basis starting in 2019.
"That is going to leverage the MassDOT-owned Knowledge Corridor, which is currently used by Amtrak's Vermonter service and the recent renovations that have been made here at Union Station," Baker said.
The announcement by Baker comes just days before the launch of new train service on the Hartford Line between Springfield and New Haven.
Baker also announced the state will request bids starting Wednesday to hire a consultant to do the long sought feasibility study of connecting Boston and Springfield by high speed rail. He said the anticipated time frame for the study is 12-18 months
"It will give us the chance to take a comprehensive look at all the options possible and to make the best decision going forward for the Commonwealth and for the region," said Baker.
The study is to include rail service to Pittsfield along with a possible stop in Palmer