Amtrak, MBTA Sign Agreement for Attleboro Line

Amtrak and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) have signed an agreement that has Amtrak providing maintenance-of-way and dispatching services on the 37.9-mile Attleboro Line, between Boston and the Rhode Island state line through 2021. The MBTA and Amtrak have previously operated under the 2003 Attleboro Line Agreement on the Northeast Corridor. 

“The joint effort of Amtrak and MBTA to reach this new agreement demonstrates our shared recognition of the importance of continued investment in the rail infrastructure in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and throughout the New England region,” stated Tom Moritz, Amtrak assistant vice president of infrastructure access and investment. “We look forward to working closely with MBTA in the years to come to provide services that benefit both commuter and Amtrak customers.” 

The new agreement ends a dispute over applicability of the federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) of 2008, Section 212, which created the Northeast Corridor Commission and mandated the development of the Commuter and Intercity Rail Cost Allocation Policy. The Policy was jointly developed by all the owners and operators of rail services from Boston to Washington, D.C. 

“The MBTA is pleased to have reached this agreement with Amtrak, signaling our collaborative efforts and mutual interests in maintaining world-class service for all rail customers through the Northeast Corridor,” said Steve Poftak, MBTA interim general manager. “We look forward to working cooperatively with Amtrak now and in the future.”

Under the agreement, the MBTA assumes responsibility for directing the capital program on the Attleboro Line. MBTA and Amtrak will contribute to capital projects and operating costs in a manner consistent with PRIIA and the Cost Allocation Policy. Amtrak will also allow the MBTA to use South Station’s system for dispatching of the south-end branch lines, charging for its use of these facilities.