A work in Progress

4 thoughts on “A work in Progress”

  1. Wow. Nine people got off in Northampton, the equivalent of four rows on a Peter Bus, and all for only $77 million dollars. And, I’m sure all those people in southern Vermont near the crossings just love the blast of the trains horn. The Happy Valley’s”Bridge to No Where,” brought to you by ex-Representative John “Bring Home the Pork” Olver. Corporate (Pan Am Railways) welfare at its best. Amtrak late? Oh, what a surprise. So let’s waste millions more on a commuter train between Northampton and Springfield. We’ll be able to have more heroin addicts begging on Main Street, adding to Noho’s diversity! Oh wait, Deval is no longer governor, maybe that won’t happen.

  2. I was always suspicious that the recent work done on the train line had very little to do with bringing passenger rail service but was instead a veiled effort to shift public money to upgrade a line owned by a private freight business, Pan Am. If state officials were serious about creating passenger service, we wouldn’t just have a once-a-day ancient train that costs too much to ride and gets you to your destination hours later than a bus would.

    The new work to remove the unused ties left on the right of way and clean up the mess will also be largely paid by taxpayer money. Pan Am and lawmakers essentially hatched a deal to appropriate millions of dollars from taxpayers to pay to upgrade a private operator’s line. Just call it something the suckers up here can get excited about (“The Knowledge Corridor” or the even more laughable “high-speed rail”) and no one will question the crime. Are we really that gullible? Amazing.

  3. Submitted on 2015/05/13 at 7:34 am
    Glad to see you are concerned about the new push for Amtrack in New England. I read your article about a recent experience traveling from Brattleboro to Northampton. The train was delayed a few hours following a collision with a pedestrian in Vermont.
    Check out the bike path adjacent to the Walgreens on King street. The old route passes over the tracks which were recently upgraded, and now carry Amtrack passenger trains at least twice a day, north and south bound.
    The average speed appears to be about 40 mph, as the train is either slowing to stop at the Northampton station, or beginning to accelerate for the trip north.
    When the track was upgraded, the eastern side of the track was fenced off to prevent passenger traffic. No pedestrian/bicycle overpass was built. As a result, the fence was cut by someone to permit access.
    In a progressive community, pedestrian and bicycle friendly town like Northampton, how has this dangerous situation been allowed to develop?
    The local officials have known about and lauded this Amtrak expansion for a long time. How is it possible that no planning was done to accommodate the bicycle/pedestrian path??????
    Your faithful reader,
    Dave K.

    1. Good letter. But can we please stop referring to Northampton as progressive? As far as train travel goes, it simply isn’t true. Not only did the city let the pedestrian and biker safety issue escape their attention, very little else was improved for the trains — no station, no shuttles, no long-term parking, no ticket booth, no amenities for travelers, etc. It’s more than a little embarrassing to see us trumpeting the arrival of Amtrak in the same way that pioneers in the Old West may have greeted the arrival of coal-stoked trains over a hundred years ago. We’re frozen in time while much of the rest of the world is developing train infrastructure that is completely leaving us in the dust.

      I realize that many people in the city have an extraordinary opinion of the exceptional nature of the place. That’s nice. But the danger in our self-congratulatory thinking is that it prevents more critical analysis to make needed improvements. I’m convinced that we can make train transportation an important part of our lives up here in the Valley, but we shouldn’t delude our progressive selves that we are anywhere close to that right now.

Comments are closed.