Massachusetts Plan Starts Small for Big Upgrade to Rail System

ImageImageLater this spring, Bostonians eager to flee to Cape Cod the weekend will have an option other than sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 70 miles and fuming along with everyone else.

Starting May 24, 2013, they can hop a train to Hyannis, where regional buses, ferries and rental cars will await to whisk them out to the beaches, islands and wind-swept dunes.

The train, the first passenger service to the cape since 1995, is one small piece of a major $13 billion transportation overhaul envisioned by Gov. Deval Patrick. That overhaul is aimed chiefly at repairing and upgrading worn-out bridges, roads and commuter lines in Massachusetts, but about 20 percent of it would go toward reviving train service to the cape and elsewhere in the state.

Mr. Patrick said that upgrading these in-state routes would spur economic development. It would also provide important links for Amtrak’s long-range plans to establish high-speed train service throughout New England.

In addition to service to the cape, Mr. Patrick has proposed reviving service from Boston to Fall River and New Bedford as well as from the Berkshires to the Connecticut border to enable future service to New York City. He has proposed extending service to Medford. He has also called for an $850 million expansion of the number of tracks at Boston’s South Station to accommodate more commuter lines and longer-distance Amtrak trains. The station now is a major bottleneck that causes serious delays.

Proposed Rail Projects in Massachusetts
Evan McGlinn for The New York Times

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