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The southbound Amtrak Vermonter in Holyoke. Courtesy of WAMC

The southbound Amtrak Vermonter in Holyoke. Courtesy of WAMC

Amtrak, in conjunction with MassDOT, is launching a new state supported seven day a week passenger train on Friday, August 30, called the Valley Flyer.

The train will travel along the Connecticut River, a region referred to as the Knowledge Corridor, with trains making station stops in Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield. 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.

“The new Valley Flyer service highlights the continuing growing demand of train travel throughout this country,” said Amtrak President & 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.”

“Our administration continues to prioritize efforts to improve and expand transit opportunities in all corners of the Commonwealth, and the new Valley Flyer passenger rail pilot is an important step forward as we seek to meet the needs of residents and communities in Western Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to this opportunity to partner with Amtrak and other stakeholders to bring this important new rail service to support communities from Springfield to Greenfield.”

“We are pleased to be collaborating with Amtrak on this two-year pilot passenger train service which will provide another transportation option along the Knowledge Corridor,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.  “We’ve appreciated the enthusiasm and support of municipal officials, members of the Massachusetts Legislature, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, railroad companies and the business community in helping to launch the service and 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.”

“I am thrilled by the launch of the Valley Flyer passenger train service serving western and northern Massachusetts,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “I have been a champion of bringing increased passenger rail service to the residents of western Massachusetts and the addition of this line is yet another tremendous success. The introduction of this service, running through the recently re-opened and renovated Springfield Union Station, will help to grow the economy and tourism in the area and support a new field of workers who now have access to convenient employment hubs in the Pioneer Valley by simply travelling by rail. I am proud to be a partner in this great endeavor.”

“This pilot program could be a game-changer for our region, better connecting travelers and businesses while growing our economy,” said Massachusetts Congressman James McGovern.  “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. 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.”

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.

Trains 461, 471 and 495 will now originate in Greenfield traveling to Springfield and New Haven, and Trains 478, 488, and 494 will now originate in New Haven traveling to Springfield and Greenfield. Train 400 will originate in Springfield and terminate in Greenfield while train 499 will originate in Greenfield and terminate in Springfield. Trains 471, 478, 494, 495 will run Monday through Friday, and Trains 400, 461, 488 and 499 will run on weekends.

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 (APD) hosted several presentations to various schools and positive enforcement grade crossing awareness events in the area, and shared rail safety messages to improve education on rail safety. Outreach efforts utilized material and rail safety information from Operation Lifesaver, a national non-profit 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, Vermont to Washington, D.C.

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