Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Let's Get This Rolling

At the recent selectman's meeting this past Monday night, Selectman Mary Redetzke asked for support from the other selectmen in asking the state for a commuter rail station between Palmer, and Worcester.


I've written about having commuter train access for those in the region in the past, and today I am writing again in support of the selectman's plea.  The addition of a rail platform on the existing line would be a tremendous boost to the area.  Commuters to Worcester, Springfield, and beyond in both directions, would be able to cut their commute time, save oodles of money, reduce wear to the roads, and our environment, and do it all by driving a little bit north to the CSX line, and boarding a train.

So simple.

No need for  tracks.  They are already there.  Just a station.  A sheltered platform.  A small investment with incredible returns.

Widening of the Massachusetts Turnpike from 4 to
6 lanes looking  west toward Exit 9 in Sturbridge.
There are some that question whether it would be worth the investment.  I, for one, would like someone else to do the driving on my commute to Boston, and I am sure Mary would enjoy it as well going to Worcester everyday.

A rail station would be an amenity that would attract thousands to an area that has been disconnected since the age of the trolley.  The turnpike was an innovation designed, and built during the Eisenhower years when the interstate highway system was being constructed countrywide.  Based on designs of the autobahn in Germany, modern highways served an incredible importance as our country grew beyond the neighborhoods, and out to suburbia.  The turnpike is mainly responsible for Sturbridge being who we are today.  Problem is, we are stagnant.

The age of the automobile not only spawned the toll road, but has maintained it.  Today, the turnpike is like an old soldier trying on his uniform years after he took it off.  It looked great at one time, but it simply no longer fits. The turnpike was built for 1957 traffic, widened for more traffic in the late 1960's.  2014 traffic is too much for the old road .  It is no longer the care free road from here to way out there, but a clogged artery that causes accidents, lost patience, constant repairs from the load, and travel times far exceeding the times the highway was orignally built to provide.

The highway brought the people to rural America, but is struggling to get them in and out on a daily basis.

Time to shift gears, and put an option out there.  Trains are a fantastic option.

Thank you, Mary, for your passion.

Previous articles on trains for our area:

Thinking Out Loud In Sturbridge: We Have Met The Enemy...

Thinking Out Loud In Sturbridge: Best Regional Idea ...


  1. Where a bouts would the platform be? I am not certain where the train tracks are in town?

  2. The train tracks are north of town. Travel route 148, or route 49 and you'll ride over them. The Route 49 area is the area most discussed for a platform. There are no tracks in town.

  3. Wally

    The Feds are going to send majority of the money to the Northeast Corridor. Everyone should push our Selectman and Selectwomen to get involved. Notice every community who has access is helping the real estate values and economic benefits.

    Here is the latest from the Feds.

    Amtrak Reauthorization
    On September 11, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (T&I) introduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the passenger rail program. The Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act (PRRIA) would fund the Amtrak program for four years at 40 percent less than current authorization levels to bring it in line with spending that has recently been appropriated by Congress for rail programs.

    The reauthorization would establish a new capital grant program at $300 million annually, $150 million of which would be dedicated to the Northeast Corridor states, as those states have the most heavily traveled Amtrak routes in the country. The bill also includes provisions to boost private-sector involvement and increase transparency in the national passenger rail program.

    This is a no brainer for us in Sturbridge, especially if Boston gets the Olympics and the other big plans Mayor Walsh is planning for them.

    Driving on the Pike is getting worse as you can see every night and on weekends. Be nice to have a easier way and cheaper way to go.

    Go to Fairfield County in CT, which is one of the wealthiest corridors in the USA, they have stops all the way to New York City.

    This is why I was pushing the politicians for it and Mary got on board. Now lets ride with Mary and get it done.

    1. Thank you, Steve. As you said, this is a "no brainer". Regional support is needed, and it begins with supporting our selectmen.

  4. Thank you Walley and Steve. We all need to work for the greater good and not be narrow minded, It is sad to hear a selectman express off camera that the possibility of a rail station to the North of us is futile. While futile, it may be, I say if we do not rattle the cage of the state, we will continue to be passed by. Don't let your BOS become docile on this issue.

  5. Mary, thank you for not giving up on this great idea.
    How do we citizens petition the BOS to be supportive of this plan?

    1. Wally & Tony

      Pass the word around and everyone send Mary Blanchard and company a email saying they want to see us back this. Very easy, every business you go to the restaurants, shops etc. Ask them why they are not supporting a idea to help the community and their business.

      Do you think the children who end up on trips to the Science Centers, Aquarium and Sports Events in Boston would not want to have it.

      This one is not costing our taxes to go up. Funding is there so we need to get our piece of the pie.

  6. This would be amazing - coming from someone who has commuted to Boston for 10 years from Sturbridge. Anything I can do to support this, I will.

    Tim Bertrand / Sturbridge resident /


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