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Massachusetts finalizes agreement with CSX Transportation

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Mass. Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray said that the Commonwealth's comprehensive multi-year rail transportation agreement with CSX Transportation, the national freight carrier serving Massachusetts, has been finalized. Lieutenant Governor Murray, who has been working on this agreement since he was Mayor of Worcester, led the negotiations for this agreement on behalf of the administration with critical support from the Governor, Senator John Kerry and Congressman Jim McGovern. Many of the agreement's major elements were resolved last year; however, the long-standing debate concerning liability remained unresolved.  

Lieutenant Governor
Murray said all parties reached an agreement under which CSXT will
help defray the MBTA’s liability insurance cost and pay the deductible on the
liability insurance policy if an accident occurs involving a freight train and
CSXT is clearly at fault because of willful misconduct.

The main elements of the
agreement include:

• The Commonwealth will
purchase the property rights of the Boston to Worcester rail line from CSXT,
increasing the potential for additional commuter service while also taking
control of dispatching and maintenance on the line. Through the development of
this agreement, the MBTA has already been able to add five Framingham-Boston
commuter trains to Worcester on CSX Transportation’s Boston line.

• The Commonwealth and CSXT
will increase the vertical clearances of bridges along the railroad main line
between I-495 and the New York State line to accommodate double-stack freight
trains. The Commonwealth will assume responsibility for raising highway bridges,
while CSXT will be responsible for lowering tracks.

• In conjunction with the
Patrick-Murray Administration’s South Coast Rail Corridor Plan, the
Commonwealth will purchase the New Bedford-Fall River Line from CSXT. The
Commonwealth will also purchase the Boston Terminal Running Track and West
First Street Yard in South Boston and CSXT’s ownership of the Grand Junction
secondary line that extends from Beacon Park Yard through Cambridge to East
Boston from CSXT.

• In an effort to create
capacity for additional commuter rail service over time, the Commonwealth will
help CSXT relocate the company’s operations out of Beacon Park Yard in Boston. This
relocation will facilitate the redevelopment and reuse of this strategic parcel
of land.

• Federal law requires that
a new, state-of-the-art technology known as a "positive train control" system
will be installed to provide improved rail safety. The new system will monitor
rail traffic, and can automatically stop train movements in an area if it
detects a potential conflict.

• Passenger and freight
trains will operate, as much as possible, in exclusive "windows" of time, thereby
reducing the chance for conflict and assisting with the efficiency of both
freight and passenger service.

• Allocates liability
amongst the parties in a way that provides incentives for both parties to
operate safely, ensures that payments are made quickly to anyone injured in an
accident, and encourages joint problem solving to correct safety concerns.

• CSXT will contribute
$500,000 to help defray the cost of the liability insurance policy the MBTA
carries for the entire commuter system. Additionally, in the event an accident
occurs involving a freight train and CSXT is clearly at fault because of
willful misconduct, the rail road will be responsible to pay the deductible on
that policy, up to a maximum of $7.5 million per accident.

In July, the Patrick-Murray
Administration joined the New England Governors in announcing a coordinated
regional vision for high-speed rail that will connect major cities and
airports, and support economic growth throughout the region. The Vision for the
New England High Speed and Intercity Rail Network lays out key projects to
strengthen passenger and freight rail service along new and existing rail
corridors.

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