Plans for city train station chugging along

Plans for city train station chugging along

PAWTUCKET - Local and state officials continue to work behind the scenes to make the dream of a future commuter rail stop in the city a reality.

Barney Heath, director of planning and redevelopment for the city, said that representatives for the city and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation are now working with transportation consultant Vanasse Hangen Brustlin on determining the best sites for train station platforms.

The platforms, which Heath said would be similar to the ones at the South Attleboro train station, would be located somewhere along the tracks between the P&W rail yard at the end of Pine Street and the C-Town Market complex on Barton Street.

"The consultant is currently in a phase of examining how and where the trains would come off the main Amtrak line to a platform siding," said Heath. "The next phase would involve where exactly the access and parking for the station would be." That determination should happen within the next 75 days, he said.

The final phase of this early planning process will include required federal reviews and preliminary engineering to 30 percent, which would give the project enough for officials to then seek federal funding, said Heath.

City officials in Pawtucket and neighboring Central Falls say a future train station would be a "game changer" for their communities, functioning as an economic driver and providing convenient transportation for commuters and tourists along the Northeast Corridor.

In 2010, the Pawtucket commuter rail project received $1.9 million in a federal transit grant to complete the environmental review and preliminary engineering. After final selection of a site, the next steps of the process will involve: analysis of projections for ridership; planning for train service and impacts; and developing a preliminary station design for parking, platforms and access, among other items.

For updates on the "Pawtucket Commuter Rail Station," visit www.vhb.com/pawtucketcommuterrail .