“Knowledge Corridor” Rail Upgrade Delayed, Possibly Over Budget

An update to the north-south Amtrak line along the Connecticut River is expected to be running by the end of 2014. The project has been delayed, and might be running over budget.

The rail upgrade, known as the Knowldege Corridor, will move passenger rail service to Greenfield, Northampton, and Holyoke. The line currently goes through Amherst and Palmer, but those stops will be eliminated, and the trains will travel faster on upgraded tracks. 

“We had hoped to have service in the fall of 2014, so it’s pushed off maybe a month or two to winter of 2014,” says Dana Roscoe, a rail planner with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. “And winter 2014 won’t mean that the work is 100 percent complete, the service will start with items still needing to be completed.”

Roscoe says the remaining work will mostly be installing signal equipment along the line. 

The project was funded by $73 million in federal stimulus money, but Roscoe says that cost may be exceeded by about $10 million, with the extra money absorbed by the state. A Massachusetts Department of Transportation spokesperson says the exact cost can’t be declared until after the project is complete.