Passenger line from Montreal to Boston is being talked about again, but rail needs work

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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A passenger line between Montreal and Boston would use rail owned by Canadian Pacific through Canada.
Photo: NetNewsLedger

Instead of high speed it will take it slow and luxurious, but a passenger line between Boston and Montreal could be a real possibility.

Using funds from President Biden’s infrastructure bill, plans for the route are resurfacing. The rail would be privately operated, and instead of a high-speed trip passengers would enjoy a “relaxed” ride with dinner and a full night’s rest during a 14-hour excursion.

A market study was recently conducted and revealed 4,000 people travel between Montreal and Boston annually, and about 1,000 would consider taking rail if it were an option. The line only needs 200 riders to be profitable.

The track, especially on the Canadian side, would need more than $100 million in upgrades and repairs. The corridor is in decent shape through northern New England, but train speeds over a long stretch can only reach 35 mph. Money would be needed for the track to increase the speed.

The route would follow Canadian Pacific rail between Montreal and Sherbrooke, Quebec. In the U.S., the track needed is owned by St. Lawrence and Atlantic, CSX, and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

Read more articles on track maintenance.

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