About the Patriot Corridor Double-Stack Clearance Initiative Project

The Patriot Corridor is a 155-mile freight line between Mechanicville, New York and Ayer, Massachusetts.

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Most of the Patriot Corridor, also called the PAS Freight Main Line (FML), is owned and operated by Pan Am Southern Railroad (PAS). The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) owns a 15-mile section of the corridor between Fitchburg Station and Ayer, which carries its commuter rail service on the Fitchburg Line. PAS maintains exclusive freight rights on the MBTA Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) sees this Project as an investment in long-distance rail freight service in New England and New York. The agency funded a 360º laser clearance survey of the entire 155-mile corridor. The survey identified that 21 bridges and 2 tunnels on the corridor that are too low for trains to carry double-stacked containers.

Using the results of the laser clearance survey, an aerial survey, site inspections, and geotechnical probes, the Project team identified key issues and developed recommendations for making clearance improvements at each location. The Project would raise the height of bridges and tunnels or lower the railroad tracks so these freight trains can use the line. The next step is to document the environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). MassDOT is working with the FRA to complete the required documentation (a Categorical Exclusion) for the Project.

Additional Resources

Recommendations by location

Town/City PAS Railroad Identification Recommendation
Pownal, VT Hoosick River Bridge Truss Modifications
Williamstown, MA Route 7 (Simonds Road) Track Undercut
North Adams, MA Appalachian Trail (Pedestrian Bridge) Bridge Modifications
North Adams, MA Little Tunnel Track Undercut
North Adams, MA Furnace Street (Pedestrian Bridge) Track Undercut
North Adams, MA State Street (Route 8) Track Undercut
North Adams, MA Hoosic River Truss Modify Bridge Deck/Floor Beams
Florida, MA Hoosac Tunnel Track Cut/Crown Raise
Greenfield, MA Conn River RR / PAR ML Track Undercut
Montague, MA Northfield Road Track Undercut
Montague, MA NECR (CV) Railroad Track Undercut
Montague, MA Bridge Street Truss (AKA Hill Street) Track Undercut
Orange, MA South Main Street Bridge Deck Replacement
Orange, MA Brookside Road (AKA Athol Street) Bridge Replacement
Athol, MA Main Street (Route 2A) Track Cut/Bridge Mod
Athol, MA Chestnut Hill Avenue Track Shifts/Bridge Reconstruction
Templeton, MA Main Street (AKA Depot Road) Track Undercut
Gardner, MA Jackson Street (AKA Pleasant Street) Track Undercut
Fitchburg, MA Rollstone Street Track Undercut
Fitchburg, MA Putnam Street Track Cut/Bridge Mod
Fitchburg, MA Water Street Track Cut/Bridge Mod
Leominster, MA Harvard Street Track Undercut
Ayer, MA Main Street (Route 2A) Track Undercut

Project Updates

Although the project stretches from Mechanicville, New York to Ayer, Massachusetts, actual track and bridge construction activities are limited to 23 distinct locations (21 bridges and 2 tunnels). Work at track level will be confined to the railroad right-of-way, and roadway bridge reconstruction will not change the existing bridge footprint.

The work is not anticipated to result in significant impacts to abutters or the general public. Roadway bridge construction will require traffic detours. MassDOT has informed the 14 communities along the right-of-way that construction may take place along their segment of the rail and will provide updated information at key milestones.



Scott Conti, Project Manager, MassDOT Rail and Transit Scott.Conti@dot.state.ma.us


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