WORCESTER, Mass. – Commuters along the Framingham/Worcester rail line should soon see an increase in service.
Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray on Thursday announced the completion of an agreement with CSX Corporation that paves the way for increased commuter rail service on the line by the end of the month.
The agreement gives the state ownership of the rail tracks and control of operations along the Framingham/Worcester line, allowing greater opportunities for MassDOT to not only improve service, but also increase service between Boston and Worcester, the state’s two largest cities.
The state will immediately increase commuter rail service on the Framingham/Worcester line between Boston and Worcester with the addition of three new inbound and three new outbound trains between the two cities for a total of 31 stops arriving or departing Worcester station, according to the announcement.
Murray also announced that MassDOT will add one inbound special express and one outbound special express next spring and will reach the goal of 20 round trips by October 2013.
“Since the restoration of limited commuter rail service to Worcester in 1994, the importance of linking New England’s two largest cities by passenger rail has been clear,” Murray said. “This finalized agreement with CSX marks a major milestone for transportation in Massachusetts as we deliver enhanced services for the growing demand of riders and support business and community development in the Worcester and Metrowest areas.”
In addition to increased commuter rail service, through the finalized agreement with CSX, the state will take control of maintenance of the right of way and begin the dispatching transition so that all Worcester Line trains are dispatched from MBTA facilities, bringing an even greater public focus to improving reliability and on-time performance of the line.
Officials also recognized the expansion and modernization of CSX’s intermodal facility in Worcester, which will allow for the relocation of the intermodal container operations now in Boston. CSX’s investment of approximately $100 million in this site created approximately 380 construction jobs, with 85 permanent jobs expected to remain at the yard upon completion of the project. Intermodal containers are large cargo boxes that can travel by ship, rail or truck. The CSX yard in Worcester processes approximately 110,000 intermodal containers annually, and that number is expected to grow to 150,000 annually in the near future and 200,000 annually in the long term. In addition, CSX has completed the development of a new bulk commodity transfer (TRANSFLO) facility on the site of a former automotive terminal in Westborough, enabling those operations to relocate from Boston as well.