Valley Flyer passenger train to make first run Friday

  • The Northampton train station is a stop on Amtrak’s Valley Flyer. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 8/28/2019 10:49:09 PM

GREENFIELD — The expanded Amtrak, in conjunction with state Department of Transportation, is launching a new state-supported seven-day-a-week north-south passenger train to be known as the Valley Flyer on Friday.

The train will travel along the Connecticut River making stops in Greenfield, Northampton, Holyoke and Springfield.

Greenfield Mayor William Martin said he will ride the Valley Flyer to Northampton on Friday, leaving Greenfield at 5:45 a.m.,

The Valley Flyer will have four trains up and down the Connecticut Valley each weekday, with connections in New Haven, Conn., to New York City. Weekend and holiday service will be limited to one train.

There will be a track closure from Sept. 10-12 to complete track work.

“Valley Flyer customers can expect the same amenities onboard as they do on all other Amtrak trains, including free Wi-Fi, the freedom to use phones and electronic devices at all times (no “airplane mode”), the ability to travel with small pets on many trains, large spacious seats with ample leg room, no middle seat, and one of the most generous baggage policies in the travel industry, applicable for two personal items and two carry-on bags,” according to a press release from Amtrak.

“The new Valley Flyer service highlights the continuing growing demand of train travel throughout this country,” said Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson. “We are proud to launch this service with our partners at MassDOT and offer Massachusetts residents and visitors with the ability to see all the state has to offer through rail travel.”

Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack thanked elected officials and railroad companies for their support to launch the expanded service.

“(We) believe this new transportation option will be an economic boost to the region, a convenient travel option, and a step toward reaching our greenhouse gas reductions goals,” Pollack said.

Congressman James McGovern said the program “could be a game-changer” for the region, connecting travelers with local businesses.

“The Valley Flyer will finally make it possible for those in the Knowledge Corridor to commute to places like New York City and back in the same day while bringing more travelers into Massachusetts,” McGovern said. “I want to thank Amtrak and MassDOT for this investment in our community, and will continue working to improve rail service so more people can see all our region has to offer.”

In preparation for the start of new service, Amtrak ran service readiness trains on the Knowledge Corridor throughout August, and Amtrak officials and the Amtrak Police Department hosted presentations at schools and crossing awareness events to improve education on rail safety. Outreach efforts used material and rail safety information from Operation Lifesaver, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing railroad-related deaths and injuries.

The augmentation of train service to the Knowledge Corridor is a project of MassDOT. Amtrak also currently runs service along this rail corridor, with its Vermonter train, which connects St. Albans, Vt., to Washington.

The trains will also connect with Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor at New Haven and serve stations between New Haven and Springfield. Tickets are now available and can be found on Amtrak.com, the Amtrak app, Amtrak ticket desks and kiosks, and through 1-800-USA-RAIL.

Reach Melina Bourdeau at 413-772-0261, ext. 263 or mbourdeau@recorder.com.




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