With no specific mention of Lowell or the Lowell line, I wrote to Colin Durrant of the EOT (Executive Office of Transportation) to confirm that indeed, the Capitol Corridor refers to the extension of the Lowell commuter rail line to Nashua, Manchester, Concord, through to Burlington VT, and up to Montreal. What’s more, it’s listed on the map of this plan as a “Designated High Speed Rail” corridor. Whoo hoo!!
Here’s what the document and press release have to say about it:
New Hampshire’s Capital corridor will create easily accessible passenger rail service for more than 500,000 residents of Southern New Hampshire with stops in the cities of Concord, Manchester, Nashua and Boston. The rail line will also stop at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, creating a much-needed connection for tourists and travelers from across northern New England. Eventually, this service will extend north to White River Junction, VT and to Montreal fulfilling the vision of this designated High-Speed Rail Corridor.
Durrant also mentioned that Massachusetts provided support for NH’s pre-application for this particular corridor, again signifying movement on this long-talked-about rail expansion. I know it’s “just a vision,” but it was a collaborative one between all the states’ Governors, and that in and of itself is a huge new development. The trickiest part of regional rail is getting the various jurisdictions on board. With the stimulus money to boost this and all leaders working together, I don’t see why this can’t become a reality.
Also, this corridor is just the tip of the iceberg in the plan, which includes 5 other major regional rail expansions, though the one that most affects us here in Lowell is the one I’ve outlined here (all politics is local after all). But if you’re a central or western Mass resident, there’s plenty to love about this plan as well.