Officials today announced completion of an agreement with CSX Corp. that will give the state control of the rails and operations along the Framingham-Worcester commuter line while increasing service between the state's two largest cities starting later this month.
Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray, calling today a "great day for Worcester," announced completion of the deal with the freight carrier at a morning ceremony at the CSX intermodal facility on Franklin Street in the city. He was joined by several city officials, as well as Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey and Lisa Mancini, senior vice president and chief administration officer for CSX.
The Worcester facility is part of CSX's plan to move operations from Allston to Westborough and Worcester by the end of the year. CSX is investing about $100 million to relocate its intermodal container operations to Worcester, creating 85 permanent jobs. The facility processes about 100,000 intermodal containers – large cargo boxes that can travel by ship, rail or truck – annually, a number that is expected to grow to 150,000 in the near future and 200,000 in the long term, according to a statement from Murray's office. In Westborough, CSX has completed development of a new bulk commodity transfer facility on the site of a former automotive terminal.
Officials also announced a phased expansion of commuter rail service along the Framingham-Worcester line that will begin Oct. 29, with the extension of three inbound and three outbound trains daily from Framingham to Worcester. Another round-trip special express train will be added next spring with more to be added by October 2013 to fulfill the state's goal of expanding service between Boston and Worcester from 12 trains today to 20.
"Since the restoration of limited commuter rail service to Worcester in 1994, the importance of linking New England's two largest cities by passenger rail has been clear," Murray said in his statement. "This finalized agreement with CSX marks a major milestone for transportation in Massachusetts as we deliver enhanced services for the growing demand of riders and support business and community development in the Worcester and MetroWest areas."
Mancini called the new CSX facility a "world-class intermodal yard" that will help facilitate freight traffic across the country, which will especially help businesses in the "technology corridor" of Eastern Massachusetts.
CSX expects to begin moving bulk commodity operations from Allston to Westborough soon and the intermodal freight to Worcester later this year. "The phased relocation will ensure that the terminals are ready to function and that the transitions occur with little or no disruption to commuter or freight operations," a company statement said.