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Mayor: We need more daily stops by Amtrak

GREENFIELD — Mayor William Martin has joined two other mayors between Greenfield and Springfield in asking the state and federal governments to increase the number of daily Amtrak shuttles planned for their cities when new high-speed passenger rail service begins next year.

“There are only two stops a day planned for Greenfield at this point,” said Martin, who signed letters to the state and federal secretaries of transportation with Northampton Mayor David J. Narkewicz and Holyoke Mayor Alex B. Morse. “I’d like to see that increased to between four and seven.”

Martin said he believes people in Greenfield would do a lot more traveling by train either north or south, if they could get to their destination and back in a few hours.

“Right now, we’d have one stopping early in the morning and one stopping here at night,” he said. “If someone wants to go shopping in Northampton or Springfield, they don’t want to wait 12 hours to return to Greenfield.”

The extension of the New Haven-Springfield Amtrak Shuttle north will provide a significant economic boon to both the region and to their respective communities, said the three mayors in their letters.

Return of Amtrak service to the west side of the Connecticut River is part of a larger $73 million federal project known as the Knowledge Corridor, the high-speed passenger rail system running from Connecticut to Vermont.

Plans call for a 2014 shift in the Amtrak Vermonter’s current route, which currently travels through Amherst and Palmer before getting to Springfield.

A more direct southern route will eventually take the train through Greenfield, Northampton and Holyoke.

Amtrak currently makes six daily round trips from New Haven to Springfield, said Martin, who said he believes Greenfield could increase ridership on the train significantly.

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