Letter: Station stops
When I first moved to this area in the 1970s, articles and editorials in the Recorder talked of putting a “bus shelter” and platform next to the railroad tracks in Greenfield to allow passengers to board the Montrealer. Then, because of the poor condition of the tracks, the Montrealer, later the Vermonter, was moved to a longer route through Amherst. I am very pleased to see that not only will the Vermonter return to Greenfield, but we will have more frequent rail access to Springfield and to New York City, and possible restoration of a train to Montreal.
Furthermore, I was pleased to see in a Facebook posting by state Rep. Paul Mark that there is movement toward the restoration of passenger rail service along the Route 2 corridor between North Adams and Fitchburg. I would travel to Boston or North Adams more often if I could hop on a train in Shelburne Falls or Greenfield.
It appears however, that the Olver Transportation Center was not built with the idea of trains to the west in mind. Ideally, for such service to be convenient, the station should have been built between the two lines on the site of the old Greenfield depot, now occupied by the Energy Park. In order to be able to board both east-west and north-south trains at the Olver Center, we will need to be able to cross to the far tracks for some trains.
The question is, will a full-length high-level platform require elevators and a pedestrian bridge for crossing the tracks? That makes sense in a densely populated area with hundreds of boardings a day. A low-level platform with a ramp to a short high-level platform for accessibility to one train car and a paved pathway across the tracks, as at many MBTA stations, would be a lower cost alternative.
Last, but not least, is the question of whether the building will be open for train passengers, as it is not now open during the evening for long-distance bus passengers. Having spent all this state and federal money to build the Olver Transportation Center, it should be open when buses and trains arrive and depart. If not, it is less useful to passengers than that “bus shelter” that was never built back in the 1970s.