Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 10-11-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | OCTOBER 11-17, 2018 THE VALLEY 11 WOONSOCKET – The Boston Surface Railroad Company's (BSRC) plans to bring passenger rail service to Woonsocket are on track, with the first trains scheduled to depart 1 Depot Square for Providence in spring of 2020, according to company founder Vincent Bono. In August, the company purchased its first trains, two streamliner loco- motives acquired at auction from the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The trains are now headed for Seaview Transportation in the Quonset Business Park, where they'll be reconditioned and prepared for the tracks. "We were pretty excited about that. Those are just the locomotives, though, we're looking to buy our actu- al coach cars in the next few weeks," said Bono. In the meantime, the company has already begun upgrading the tracks that will be used by arrangement with Genesee & Wyoming – the company that purchased the Providence and Worcester Railroad Co. in 2016 – including replacing ties and installing monitored switches. According to Bono, the tracks are currently rated for 60 mile-per-hour passenger service – far faster than the 45 miles per hour his trains will typically travel – but the company isn't taking any risks with safety. "It is nice if you're running behind schedule to have the option to pick up the speed a little bit," he said. "It's more about reliability and consistency for people." Those tracks, which cross Hamlet Ave and pass close to the Woonsocket Middle School complex before con- tinuing south to Providence, currently see minimal freight traffic, much of it at night. As the company's operating date draws closer, though, Bono said they plan to launch a "heavy duty" outreach program with the schools to educate kids about the importance of not walking on the tracks. "It's really tough to get people to internalize that train tracks are dan- gerous," he said. "We're looking at probably four trips in the morning and four trips in the evening. It's not a tremendous amount of traffic, but one preventable accident is one too many." The company is also preparing to submit its positive train control implementation plan to the Federal Railroad Administration. While not strictly required under the initial proposed schedule, positive train control – a digital system designed to stop accidents before they occur – is an extra safety measure that is gradu- ally becoming an industry standard among high-traffic passenger rails. The company will also begin work on a new platform at the Woonsocket Depot station in the spring. As the work progresses, Bono said the company has fielded many ques- tions from residents about the status of the project, sometimes receiving as many as 20 voicemails a week at their offices at 1 Depot Square. In response, the company will hold a public question-and-answer ses- sion and community update next Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at their offices, with preference given to Woonsocket residents if they run out of space. Individuals can pre-register for the free event at www.bsrc.com/ events. "There's a lot of curiosity out there because people are excited about the service coming back," he said. Bono founded the company in 2012 with the goal of providing private commuter rail service on the under- served transportation route between Worcester and Providence with a stop in Woonsocket. The project has proceeded in steps as the company works to develop partnerships with the cities along its main route along with a proposed future route through Lowell, Mass., and up into Nashua and Concord, N.H.. In July, the com- pany learned it was eligible to apply directly for federal matching grants without a municipal or state sponsor, a development that could accelerate planned track improvements. Another development has put a time frame on the company's schedule of late. Bono said he's under pressure from Worcester city officials to have the passenger rail ready for the open- ing of the new Worcester Red Sox stadium in 2021 and plans to extend service to Worcester within a year of opening the Providence-Woonsocket line. While he has no idea if Rhode Islanders will use his rail service to travel up to Worcester to support their former Triple-A PawSox, the entrepre- neur, a Boston native who now lives in Woonsocket, admitted he's still get- ting used to the team's planned move. "I can't bring myself to call them the WooSox," he said. For now, Bono anticipates most of their Woonsocket clients will be commuters, with 140 parking spaces available at the station and plenty of housing within walking distance. The company hopes to kick off with at least 100 passengers on day one and grow to about 360,000 annual passen- gers after five years, with about 1,000 passengers per day expected to come from Woonsocket. Tickets will cost about $8 one-way from Woonsocket to Providence, and discounts will be available for regular travelers. Woonsocket-Providence passenger rail on track for spring 2020 opening By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com Pet vaccination clinic Saturday NORTH ATTLEBORO – The First Congregational Church UCC of North Attleborough (Oldtown Church), 675 Old Post Road, will hold a pet vaccination clinic, for dogs and cats, from 11 a.m. to noon this Saturday, Oct. 13. Please call or text 508-212-4774 or email clavette_6@msn.com for information, fees and to make an appointment for vaccinations, heart-worm tests, or deworming. Vaccinations and tests are individu- ally priced, without additional clinic or other fees. Rhode Island residents and walk-ins are welcome. All cats must be in carriers and dogs must be on leashes. The entrance for the vaccination clinic is in back of the church, to the rear of the parking lot. Metivier fundraiser is tonight CUMBERLAND – The Friends of Jim Metivier will host a fund- raiser for the independent District 1 councilman tonight, Oct. 11, at the Lusitana Club, 10 Chase St. Suggested donations are $20, $50 (Silver) and $100 (Gold). Learn about R.I. stone walls at Historical Society Sunday LINCOLN – This Sunday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. join the Blackstone Valley Historical Society, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, in welcoming State Archaeologist Timothy Ives, who will introduce his knowledge of the history and character of stone walls across Rhode Island. This presentation is one of the Preservation Society's Archaeology Month activities. Ives is the principal archaeolo- gist at the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. Boston Surface Railroad Company will hold a public question-and-answer session and community update next Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 6:30 p.m. Visit www.bsrc.com/events.

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