NECR: B.U.I.L.D. Bucks to Complete 286k Line

Last “Light” Stretch of NECR Line Will Get $30 Million Treatment of CWR, Ties/Ballast, and Bridge Fixes to Achieve End-To-End 286k Capacity

11 December, Central MA – MassDOT’s Closing the Gap in New England project was awarded $10,800,000 to be combined with $19.2 million in matching funds [1] to complete the Quebec-to-New London line 286K capacity upgrade. The project includes the installation of approximately 31 miles of CWR, replacement of approximately 20,000 ties, thousands of yards of ballast, and strengthening approximately 20 bridges along the length of the railroad’s 55-mile Massachusetts stretch. {USDOT Announcement, 11.Dec.2018}

Central MA: Investments in all elements of track and bridge work will be distributed over the 55-mile stretch, resulting in an end-to-end NECR main line from the Canadian border to the Port of New London. {USDOT 2018 BUILD Grants Fact Sheet}.

The project involves a variety of critical upgrades on various parts of the line, while working past the sections that have already been brought to 286K standard. G&W Vice President of Communication Michael Williams explained:

  “… [S]ome of the NECR main line rail in Massachusetts has been upgraded through prior capital investments by the railroad over the years. Likewise, not all of the NECR bridge structures in the Commonwealth [still] require upgrading to handle 286,000-lb. freight cars. This grant basically “fills in the gaps” across the NECR Massachusetts main line. In the end, this grant will be the means of achieving a railroad capable of handling modern, heavier freight cars not only across Massachusetts but from the Port of New London to the Vermont-Quebec international border. {email from Williams 12.Dec.2018}

“Completion of the [end-to-end 286K] project enables NECR to market a fully 286-capable route from New London to the Quebec border, which will enable customers to compete more effectively in their domestic and international markets. 286 capability is essential to driving more of the region’s freight traffic to rail and attracting more industrial development to the region” {email from Williams 13.Dec.2018}.


[1] MassDOT $9.6 million, and G&W/NECR $9.6 million