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Tickets now available for Amtrak trains stopping in Northampton and Greenfield beginning Dec. 29



Last modified: Tuesday, December 23, 2014
All aboard!

With train service to and from New York — as well as Essex Junction and St. Albans, Vermont — in a little over two weeks, the times and fares for those trains have been made available by Amtrak.

According to a new Amtrak schedule that takes effect Dec. 29, Vermonter service will depart from the John W. Olver Transit Center in Greenfield at 1:07 p.m. and arrive at New York’s Penn Station* at 6:42 p.m. The train, which will stop in Northampton at 1:31 p.m., continues with service to Washington, D.C., arriving at 10:21 p.m.

The run to New York is a trip of just under five hours, which is similar to current service between Amherst and New York, even though current service has had to detour from Springfield, through Palmer, Amherst, Millers Falls and Northfield on slower track since 1989.

Instead of traveling at 8 to 12 mph and being diverted 25 minutes along an out-of-the-way jog, the new train is expected to travel at speeds of up to 70 mph, and the estimates had been for a reduction of travel time of at least 25 minutes, and perhaps 45 minutes.

An Amtrak spokeswoman Friday said the “initial” schedule is expected to be adjusted in coming months “upon completion of additional infrastructure improvements.”

The state has spent $73 million in track and rail-crossing improvements between Springfield and the Vermont state line, with the hope travel times would improve.

Dana Roscoe, transportation planning manager for the Pioneer Valley Regional Planning Commission, said, “That’s either an error or an oversight. It’s absolutely quicker to go from Greenfield to Springfield than from Amherst to Springfield.”

Service through Amherst will end Dec. 28.

Northbound service, leaving from Penn Station at 11:33 a.m., will arrive in Northampton at 4:03 p.m. and Greenfield at 4:27 p.m. That train will continue north, arriving in St. Albans, Vermont, at 8:57 p.m.

Service in Holyoke is scheduled to begin next spring, when station work there is completed, according to the new Amtrak schedule, which has Greenfield and Northampton marked in red as “New!!”

Tickets can be purchased at www.amtrak.com or by calling 800-USA-RAIL.

* This has been corrected from an earlier version of this story.