Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 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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18 WOONSOCKET OCTOBER 11-17, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION actual coach cars in the next few weeks," said Bono. In the meantime, BSRC has begun upgrading the tracks that will be used by arrangement with Genesee & Wyoming – the company that pur- chased the Providence and Worcester Railroad Co. in 2016 – including replacing ties and installing moni- tored switches. According to Bono, the tracks are currently rated for 60 miles per hour for 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 consis- tency for people." Bono founded the company in 2012 with the goal of providing pri- vate commuter rail service on the underserved transportation route between Worcester and Providence with a stop in Woonsocket. While the tracks pass close to the Berkeley Mill in Cumberland and the villages of Albion and Manville in Lincoln, BSRC representative Todd Stacy said the company has no plans to add additional stops at this time. "Those locations are too close and add unnacceptable trip time increas- es and typically would cannibalize ridership from Woonsocket," he said. Those tracks, which cross Hamlet Avenue in Woosnocket and pass close to the Woonsocket Middle School complex before continuing south, currently see minimal freight traffic, much of it at night. As the company's operating date draws closer, though, Bono told The Breeze 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. The project has proceeded in steps since 2012 as the company works to develop partnerships with the cit- ies 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 opening of the new Worcester Red Sox stadium in 2021 and plans to extend service to Worcester within a year of open- ing 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 entrepreneur, a Boston native who now lives in Woonsocket, admitted he's still getting 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 passengers 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. RAIL From Page One 1250 Mineral Spring Avenue, North Providence, RI 02904 401-723-6770 • 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Mon. - Fri.) Suburban Travel & Amawaterways Cruise Night Kirkbrae Country Club We invite you to learn more about River Cruising with Stephen Batjiaka Please RSVP before Oct 19th Contact Christy or Karen at Suburban Travel. Join us at Kirkbrae Country Club 197 Old River Rd., Lincoln, RI Wednesday, October 24 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. OPEN HOUSE Picture Yourself at Davies! • Automotive Careers • Biomanufacturing • Cosmetology • Electrical & Renewable Energy • Graphics & Interactive Media • Health Careers • Hospitality Careers • Machine Technology • Pre-Engineering Technology Future Student Night Thursday, November 8th 6 p.m.-8 p.m. We welcome 8th grade students and their parents to learn more about our academics, career and technical programs, and meet our faculty. 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