John W. Olver Transit Center
View of Olver Transit Center from Olive Street
|Location||12 Olive Street|
|Owned by||Franklin Regional Transit Authority|
|Line(s)||Connecticut River Line|
|Connections||FRTA: 21, 22, 23, 31, 32, 41|
|Parking||39 short-term spaces|
|Bicycle facilities||16 bike rack spaces|
|Architect||Charles Rose Architects|
|Station code||Amtrak code: GFD|
|Opened||May 7, 2012|
Rail service: December 29, 2014
|Passengers (2017)||6,290 6.25% (Amtrak)|
The John W. Olver Transit Center, also called the JWO Transit Center, is an intermodal transit hub for Franklin County, Massachusetts. It currently serves Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA) local bus routes plus intercity bus service. The center is also a train station that services Amtrak's Vermonter line.
Named after long-time western Massachusetts congressman John Olver, it is the first zero net energy transit center in the United States. Built with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, the facility was constructed with solar panels, geothermal wells, copper heat screens and other energy efficient technologies. It houses the FRTA offices and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, the successor organization to the Franklin County county government.
Passenger amenities available at the JWO Transit Center are an indoor waiting area, rest rooms, a small café, public WiFi service and bicycle racks. Short-term parking is available for a limited number of vehicles and long-term parking is available one block away at the city lot located on Hope Street.
Local and regional bus services
All FRTA fixed route bus routes connect at JWO Transit Center.
- Route 21 Greenfield Community
- Route 22 Montague/Greenfield
- Route 23 Amherst/Greenfield
- Route 31 Northampton/Greenfield
- Route 32 Orange/Greenfield
- Route 41 Charlemont/Greenfield
Intercity bus service
Amtrak's southbound and northbound Vermonter service is scheduled to stop at the Olver Transit Center each day in the afternoon. The Amtrak boarding platform, which is handicapped accessible, is located behind the transit center building. A waiting area is available inside the building for passengers, but Amtrak tickets are not available for purchase at the JWO Transit Center.
Plans have been announced to expand the service of the New Haven–Springfield Shuttle to Greenfield in Spring 2019. The pilot program will include the stations north of Springfield: Holyoke and Northampton, with Greenfield as the terminus. Contingent on the results of the pilot program, service will tentatively end in Fall 2021.
The Connecticut River Railroad (CRRR) opened to passenger service between Springfield and Northampton in late 1845; trains reached Deerfield in August 1846, Greenfield in December 1847, and the junction with the Central Vermont Railway in January 1849. When the Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad reached Brattleboro in 1850, the Connecticut River Railroad began running through service from Springfield to Brattleboro. Service east from Greenfield to Boston was started by the Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad in 1851, and was extended west to Troy, New York through the Hoosac Tunnel in 1875.
The CRRR was host to a mix of local and long-distance passenger and freight service. It became part of the route for crack New York-Montreal trains as early as the 1860s, and was acquired by the Boston and Maine Railroad in 1893. The Fitchburg Railroad was similarly acquired six years later. Under the Boston and Maine, Greenfield was an important local rail hub for the next century.
The former Boston and Maine passenger station was situated on the east side of the Conn River Line tracks slightly north of the JWO Transit Center. The station was torn down in April 1966 after many years of being abandoned and due to neglect. The town council voted to tear down the station due to the threat to public safety. The former lot was vacant for many years at the end of Miles Street until the Greenfield Energy Park was opened.
Service between Greenfield and Troy was discontinued in 1958, and all service east to Boston ended in 1960. Long-distance passenger service over the Conn River Line ended in October 1966, with local service between Springfield and Brattleboro lasting until the end of the year. In 1972, Amtrak began running the Montrealer, which ran along the line at night, stopping at Northampton but not Holyoke or Greenfield. The Montrealer was discontinued in 1987 due to poor track conditions on the line.
Service resumed in 1989 after Amtrak seized control of the line in Vermont from the Boston and Maine Railroad, but the train was rerouted over the Central Vermont Railway through Massachusetts and Connecticut to avoid the still-dilapidated Conn River Line which Amtrak did not control. A stop was added at Amherst to replace Northampton. The Montrealer was replaced by the daytime Vermonter in 1995, using the original route through Connecticut but still avoiding the Conn River Line in Massachusetts.
Restoration of service
In order to shorten travel times on the Vermonter and add additional local service to serve the populated Connecticut River Valley, the Conn River Line was rebuilt with $73 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money and $10 million in state funds.
Construction of a handicapped-accessible station platform at the Olver Transit Center was to have begun in early 2014 and been largely finished when passenger service begins; however, construction was delayed. A temporary handicapped-accessible wooden platform was completed for the start of service, at which the Vermonter began stopping on December 29, 2014.
Possible future service
Commuter rail service has been proposed for the corridor, running between Springfield and Greenfield with four daily round trips. A 2014 state transportation funding bill included $30 million for acquiring used MBTA Commuter Rail rolling stock and new locomotives for the service. In June 2018, Governor Charlie Baker announced that two Amtrak Shuttle round trips would be extended to Greenfield in 2019 as a pilot program.
Additionally, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Vermont Agency of Transportation are conducting a study to examine the opportunities and impacts of more frequent and higher speed intercity passenger rail service between Boston and Montreal. The Boston to Montreal corridor runs from Boston to Springfield Union Station. From Springfield the rail corridor follows the route of the Vermonter northerly through Holyoke, Northampton, and Greenfield into Vermont. From St. Albans, Vermont, the corridor continues to the Canada–US border and onward to Montreal Central Station in Quebec. This study has been designated the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative.
- "JWO Transit Center". Franklin Regional Transit Authority. Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
- Kinney, Jim (December 29, 2014). "Amtrak Vermonter makes first Knowledge Corridor run in Springfield, Northampton and Greenfield". Springfield Republican. Springfield, Massachusetts. Retrieved 2014-12-29.
- "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2017, State of Massachusetts" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2017.
- Contrada, Fred (January 13, 2015). "Greenfield celebration of Amtrak service takes a sharp turn into protest". The Republican. Springfield, Massachusetts. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
- "Rail News Roundup 14". Trains in the Valley. June 12, 2018. Archived from the original on June 24, 2018.
- Owens, David. "Massachusetts Plans To Expand Commuter Trains North Of Springfield In 2019". Hartford Courant. Hartford, CT. Archived from the original on June 14, 2018.
- Karr, Ronald Dale (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England. Branch Line Press. pp. 163–169, 173–175. ISBN 0942147022.
- Amtrak (October 26, 1986). "Amtrak National Train Timetables". Museum of Railway Timetables. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
- Merzbach, Scott (February 16, 2014). "Pioneer Valley Business 2014: Development hopes ride on expanded rail". Gazette Net. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
- Fritz, Anita (February 4, 2014). "Train platform will have access from Olive Street, transportation center". The Recorder. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
- Fritz, Anita (October 5, 2014). "Temporary platform on track". The Recorder. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
- "Construction on track for railroad platform". The Recorder. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-28.
- "Session Laws: Chapter 79 of the Acts of 2014". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. April 18, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-18.
- Tuthill, Paul (June 12, 2018). "Commuter Trains To Run North Of Springfield Starting In 2019". WAMC.
- "About this Project". Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative. Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John W. Olver Transit Center.|
- John W. Olver Transit Center - official web page
- Greenfield, MA – Amtrak
- Greenfield, MA (GFD) (Amtrak's Great American Stations)
- Zero Net Energy Building, John W. Olver Transit Center - Charles Rose Architects