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NEW: Lt. Gov. Murray Seals Worcester Rail Deal

Thursday, October 04, 2012

 

Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray finalized the Commonwealth's public-private partnership with national rail carrier CSX to bring increased commuter rail service and freight to Worcester and the rest of Massachusetts at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday.

"This is really an exciting day," Murray said of the project, which has been 15 years in the making.

Under the agreement, the state assumes ownership of the tracks on the Framingham-Worcester line, enabling the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to increase commuter rail service between New England's first- and second-largest cities.

Starting in late October, an additional three roundtrips from Worcester to Boston will be added to the schedule, and Murray said the addition of morning and afternoon express trains is slated for Spring 2013.

"That is going to mean jobs, investment and a better quality of life," he said.

CSX Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Lisa Mancini said the public-private partnership is something the company is proud of and hopes will serve as an example for other state and local administrations and members of the transportation industry.

She also applauded the Lieutenant Governor's efforts in bringing the vision to fruition.

"His hard work has been extraordinary throughout this project," she said.

As part of the partnership, CSX has upgraded and expanded its Worcester intermodal rail yard to shift operations out of Boston and increase the flow of freight across the state. Roughly 38 percent of all freight currently passes through Massachusetts, and with CSX's new facilities, officials hope to see that number increase in the future.

"There's been a pendulum shift in the thinking that comes from Beacon Hill," said Worcester City Manager Michael O'Brien.

O'Brien praised Murray and the other members of Governor Deval Patrick's administration for looking beyond the Boston area to develop state-wide projects that capitalize in the unique assets and strengths of each of the Commonwealth's regions.

With over $40 million of investment in Worcester's CitySquare project, O'Brien said the city is on course to become a vibrant economic and cultural hub.

"The Red Sox lack a lot of leadership, but clearly Worcester does not," said City Councilor Frederick Rushton speaking on behalf of the Council.

Rushton said that just the three commuter trains that will be added at the end of the month will have a noticeable positive impact on the quality of life in Worcester but that they are only the first in a series of new opportunities the City and its residents will have thanks to the project.

"We are not done," Rushton said. "We're only going to get better."

 

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