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South Coast Rail Project: Many Details on Impact to Canton Still Unknown

The Canton Board of Selectmen discussed the South Coast train project last night.

The update on the South Coastal Rail project did not provide a lot of new information to Canton. The listened to a presentation from Gary McNaughton of McMahon Associates at last night's meeting.

The inititative from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to bring public commuter rail transportation to Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford has been in the works for several years, Town Administrator Bill Friel said.

The town tapped McNaughton to monitor and watch the process, Friel noted.

Due to reports from the Army Corps of Engineers and MassDOT not giving details, the town still does not know how the project will impact Canton, McNaughton said.

Additional parking, construction, train whistles and a "host of other things" could impact the residents of Canton and be grounds for mitigation, he told the board.

Proposals include extending the Stoughton commuter rail line, which runs through Canton, and branching off into two different tracks leading to New Bedford and Taunton. The other proposals include extending the Providence/Attleboro line or extending the Middleboro line, McMaughton said.

"The theme is a lack of detail on specific impact to any of the communities," he said.

The new rail project would add four additional trains going through Canton on weekdays and add weekend trains.

"Freight service is loosely alluded to, but there are no details," McMaughton said of the proposal.

said many residents are "not interested in seeing the Stoughton line continued...but we are loosing that battle. We really don't have too much control over which route they choose."

The other setback for Canton is "perhaps we'll now have more weekend traffic," Burr said.

Chairman John Connolly said the "white elephant" in the room is the possibility of freight trains running through Canton.

With CSX owning the rail lines, increased freight trains would "be a disaster for te people in this town," Connolly said.

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