The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) began construction to rehabilitate the Fall River and New Bedford railroad lines, a necessary step toward providing South Coast Rail service.
Thousands of rail ties and spikes will be installed along 33 miles of right-of-way leading to Fall River and New Bedford beginning this fall and continuing until winter weather freezes the rail bed. Work will resume in spring 2014.
“South Coast residents deserve the benefits of a reliable and convenient connection to Boston and points in between,” said Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. “This work is another step in a methodical, comprehensive process that will move South Coast Rail forward.”
“The upgrades strengthen the track to provide safer operations for current freight service while getting the corridor ready for the complete rehabilitation required to provide higher speed passenger service,” said South Coast Rail Project Manager Jean Fox.
A total of approximately 42,000 crossties and thousands of spikes will be installed along the 14 miles of track leading to Fall River and 19 miles of track leading to New Bedford. The commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased the rail lines from CSX in order to provide access for future South Coast Rail service.
Other investments and milestones supporting South Coast Rail to date include:
• Rebuilding of three New Bedford rail bridges, funded by a $20-million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant.
• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the South Coast Rail project and MassDOT adopted the Corps’ document as the state-required Final Environmental Impact Report, with the Stoughton rail alternative as the preferred route.
• South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan technical assistance grants and other investments provided to assist the 31 corridor communities in preparing for passenger rail through sustainable development and appropriate land use.