Railroad Changes Coming to Western Massachusetts
Beginning on December 29, 2014 Amtrak’s Vermonter will continue their daily trips from St. Albans, VT to Washington DC, however they will be traveling on a new route called the Knowledge Corridor. There will be added stops in Greenfield and Northampton replacing previous service to the Amherst Station. The biggest change to this is the SPEED of the train. Presently only slow moving freight trains travel through the towns of Bernardston, Greenfield, Deerfield, Whately, Hatfield, Northampton, Easthampton, Holyoke, Springfield and Chicopee at speeds of 8-12 mph. The railroad infrastructure has and is continuing to be updated. In certain locations on the route speeds will be in excess of 60 mph.
Amtrak is asking all local agencies and citizens to make yourself aware of this update and share the information. Attached are several informational and safety pamphlets from Amtrak.
Here are 7 Steps for Safety – Highway-Rail Grade Crossings as provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- Approach with care.
Warn others that you are slowing down. Turn on 4-way flashers. Use pull-out lane if available.
- Prepare to stop.
Turn off fans and radio and roll down windows. Locate your cell phone for use in emergency. Stop at least 15 feet, but not more than 50 feet, from nearest rail.
- Look both ways and listen carefully.
Bend forward to see around mirrors and A-pillars.
- If it won’t fit, don’t commit.
Do not enter a crossing unless you can drive completely through without stopping! And, remember, trains are wider than the track. Before you pull onto the track, make sure there is enough room on the other side for the back of your vehicle (and any overhanging cargo) to be at least 6 feet beyond the furthest rail.
- Look again.
Before you move, look again in both directions.
- Cross tracks with care.
Signal, watch for a safe gap, pull back onto the road if you used a pull-out lane. Use highest gear that will let you cross without shifting.
- Keep going once you start, even if lights start to flash or gates come down.