Amtrak Service Begins in Greenfield, Northampton

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The John W. Olver Transit Center has been waiting two years for Amtrak trains. Passenger service between Washington, D.C., and St. Albans, Vt., begins Dec. 29 with stops in Greenfield and Northampton.

GREENFIELD, Mass. — Amtrak will begin Amtrak Vermonter service to Greenfield and Northampton beginning Dec. 29. Tickets are now available for purchase.

The Vermonter will also add a stop in Holyoke later in 2015 when station work is complete. The added stops because of the reroute will replace service provided to the Amherst station, which will end on Dec. 28.

The restoration of train service to the Knowledge Corridor has been a goal of the state Department of Transportation and Gov. Deval Patrick's administration, which have been leading the effort to improve the Pan Am Southern tracks and shorten trip times within the commonwealth. Funding for the project was provided through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The John W. Olver Transit Center in Greenfield opened in 2012 in anticipation of the restoration of passenger train service and the hope that it will also be restored west through the Hoosac Tunnel to North Adams.

In preparation for the new service, Amtrak has been working with local authorities to raise rail safety awareness by meeting with community groups and schools. A variety of rail safety education tools are available from Operation Lifesaver, a rail safety education organization.



The Vermonter operates daily between Washington, D.C., and St. Albans, Vt., with service to Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, Conn., Springfield and Essex Junction, Vt., and other intermediate stops. In fiscal year 2014, ridership on this route increased 6.6 percent, providing service to more than 89,000 passengers.

Passengers may book travel via Amtrak.com, mobile apps, or by calling 800-USA-RAIL for any station along the route between Washington and St. Albans, Vt., using the attached schedule.
 


Tags: amtrak,   passenger rail,   transportation,   

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North Adams Gets $600K Grant to Make Brayton Access Safer

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A nearly $600,000 state grant is going to make it safer for children to cross from Brayton Hill Apartments to Brayton School. 
 
The city was recently awarded $598,255 through the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School program to make infrastructure improvements at the entrance to the Northern Berkshire Family YMCA and install sidewalks in the area of the school. The City Council accepted the grant on Tuesday. 
 
"This grant is an incredible opportunity for the Brayton Elementary School neighborhood and will help support pedestrian and bike safety," said Barbara Malkas, superintendent of North Adams Public Schools. "The end result of the project will facilitate behaviors that promote health and wellness in a world that can be focused on our electronic devices. We're thrilled to be a recipient of this grant and the positive effects it will have on the children and families in our community."
 
The steep driveway into the parking lot of the YMCA, which is attached to the school, and a problematic crosswalk were a focus of the City Council earlier this year. No one is sure when the crosswalk was first painted but it's never been in compliance because it doesn't run between sidewalks but rather cuts across Brickyard Court between a dirt pathway through private land and the corner of the driveway. There is also a visibility factor because of the incline of both the road and the driveway.
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