Residents voice concerns over rail service in Plaistow
Consultants and the DOT are working on a study that could expand commuter rail service from Haverhill into Plaistow. (ADAM SWIFT/Union Leader Correspondent)
Over the next year, Sanborn said HDR Associates will complete a study that will look at options for extending rail service from Haverhill into Plaistow. That study will look at possible locations for a railroad station and layover facility, as well as taking into account the cost and potential ridership for a commuter rail extension.
While Sanborn and several HDR representatives laid out a basic outline for how the study will proceed, Sanborn reiterated several times that the only thing that has gotten the go-ahead so far is the study.
During the meeting, a number of residents laid out many of those concerns, from noise and pollution associated with a potential station and layover facility to fears about the possibility that a commuter rail station would bring increased crime to Plaistow.
“Two-thirds of the town’s residents said they did not want this, yet here we are and they are taking taxpayer money to fund something that we do not want,” said Plaistow resident Tom Alberti. He noted that the Haverhill station is only about six miles from Plaistow and that there is not a huge need to extend the service into Plaistow.
Former Haverhill and current Plaistow resident Brian Hall said he was concerned about the noise and vibration from the trains.
While a number of people spoke against extending rail service to Plaistow, there were several people who said they either supported extending service or at the least wanted to hear the results of the study before making a final decision.
Several residents asked if the rail station or layover facility could be built in town if the residents opposed it.
However, resident Robert Clark noted that New Hampshire does not have a host community statute that would specifically let the town vote to stop the project.
As the study continues in its initial stages, Sanborn said there will be a community advisory board formed that will include residents from the communities impacted by the study. He also said there would be more public input sessions as the study moves forward.
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