Next stop Manchester? Consultants pinpoint 3 possible rail stops in city
Patrick Herlihy, the director of aeronautics, rail and transit for the state Department of Transportation, told the Board of Mayor and Aldermen that a regional train service running between Manchester and Lowell, Mass., would cost the state and local authorities $8 million to $10 million a year to operate.
Herlihy is overseeing the ongoing federally funded study of the Capitol Corridor, which, in its most ambitious form, would run from Concord to Nashua, with stops in downtown Manchester and at the airport, and then connect with the MBTA commuter rail system. The study is also considering on-shoulder bus service to Boston as an alternative to rail or in conjunction with it, with the goal of reducing highway congestion in southern New Hampshire.
Herlihy said the consultants conducting the study still have many questions to answer, including how the project would be financed. The study is expected to run through the end of 2014.
He said Manchester in particular could benefit from transit-oriented development near a rail station downtown. “We’re looking to attract and retain younger, highly educated professionals in the state,” he said. “Many of them prefer to not drive automobiles and prefer alternative forms of transportation.”
He said the consultants have identified two possible sites for a station in downtown Manchester, one off Spring Street in the Millyard and the other off Granite Street, near the WMUR-TV station.
Herlihy said the consultants are focusing on a regional rail option for Manchester, which would make about 16 trips a day, fewer than a commuter line but more frequent than an Amtrak-style service.
Mayor Ted Gatsas said after the meeting that there needed to be more financial analysis to see if the project was worth the investment in Manchester.