By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — MassDOT has narrowed down its options for a possible east-west passenger rail project. Officials estimate the project could cost between $2.4-4.6 billion and serve between 278,000 to 469,000 annual riders.

The first choice would provide direct service between Pittsfield and Boston. It would share the CSX and MBTA tracks which already exist.

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The second option would use shared tracks at the beginning and end of the line but a new track between Springfield and Worcester.

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The third option, which is similar to the second but would add high-speed shortcuts between Springfield and Worcester.

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“The study recommends a series of next steps to further advance planning for East-West rail, including further discussions with CSX about its policies for use of its tracks between Springfield and Worcester, a follow-up study detailing the potential economic and community benefits and impacts, development of a new approach to governance for passenger rail service in Western Massachusetts and efforts to identify possible funding sources,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. Staff