Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hopedale Commuter Rail

Boy, you can tell that we've passed by the Labor Day hump, huh? Train Rider and I have both been neglecting the blog a bit, missing news updates about rail and transportation issues.

The following article, sent to us by Ralph today, is a follow-up written by The MetroWest Daily News about Hopedale's Draper complex and the desire to extend the commuter rail line to this facility.

Recognizing that this extension could be years away, I do feel that this could be a worthy addition to the commuter rail line. The Hopedale station could ultimately serve two different audiences - Blackstone Valley residents who live on the far side of Grafton & Westborough and Milford, Hopedale and Mendon residents who essentially only have the Franklin line as an option. This may seem like small geographic pocket, but the past few years have seen a population explosion as more people move further away from metro-Boston either because of housing costs, jobs or the desire to live in a rural/suburban environment.

The MetroWest article noted:
The idea has some attractive features already working for it, said Jon Delli Priscoli, Grafton & Upton Railroad Co. owner, whose line would be used for the project. The rail line already exists and is a relatively short distance from the nearest station, Forge Park in Franklin, he said.

Their discussion focused on fundamental questions: Is there enough space at the Draper complex to house a station and parking? From where will the riders come? Would the station alleviate overcrowded ones in Grafton, on a separate line, and in Franklin? And will surrounding towns have the same amount of interest as some Hopedale officials do?

"Is commuter rail an end in itself or part of a greater development?" asked state Rep. John Fernandes, D-Milford. "Because if it's part of a greater development, you have to integrate it into the site."

Too bad the state doesn't have the funding. This could be a real welcome addition for residents.

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