Letter: Boston rail link is top priority


Mark Shapp's "Fast Boston rail link would benefit Berkshires" (letter, Feb. 9) is the most intelligent and informed discussion of this critical transportation issue that has appeared recently in The Eagle. His point -- that it makes much more sense to link this area by rail to Boston going east and Albany going west -- is so obvious that one wonders why it needs saying.

By upgrading a line that is already in use for passenger service (Amtrak's once-a-day Lakeshore Limited linking Pittsfield to Boston and Chicago and all intermediate stops), this area could gain frequent and easy access to Amtrak's Boston-NYC-DC Northeast Corridor as well as Amtrak's Empire Service in New York State via Albany.

Another major consideration is the fact that Congress has mandated that Positive Train Control (PTC) be placed on all rail routes in the country carrying passengers. PTC is a technology that will automatically prevent deadly accidents, and it is also very expensive to install. Railroads across the country have requested postponement of this mandate because of the cost, but in the end it will have to be put into place. The existing line between Boston and Albany will get this technology long before any rail line heading south from Pittsfield through Connecticut.

Why not build the Berkshires service on rail passenger infrastructure that is already in place? To repeat, it just makes sense, in every conceivable way.




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