ONTONTPELIER -- High-speed rail service between Boston and Montreal would attract enough passengers to make it worth pursuing, a study has determined.
The study, financed by the federal government and Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, focused on whether there would be a market for the train. The conclusion is that there is. ''We were pleased to see the ridership. We really did not know what it was going to be,'' said Scott Bascom, a planning coordinator with the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
The next phase will be to study what it would take to get service up and running in the 325-mile corridor.
US senators James Jeffords, a Republican, and Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, both of Vermont said Congress has appropriated $248,375 for the next phase of the study. The federal government has been financing half the cost; the three states are splitting the rest.
The analysts used different variables -- train speed, fares, and number of stations. They concluded that the most likely scenario -- acknowledging the train speed would be restricted at some points -- taking just under six hours and attracting 683,667 riders annually.
The study found that the infrastructure needs substantial improvements to support high-speed rail service.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.