Interest in future commuter and high-speed rail systems has accelerated, if you will, with federal rail stimulus funding appropriated to Massachusetts last fall to rebuild the rail line to Vermont. A feasibility study may be conducted on a high-speed link from western Mass. to Boston.
Commuter rail service is spotty in New England where once train travel was proliferate. The new scheme to improve commuter service from Connecticut to Vermont recalls the days of over 40 years ago and the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad, when commuter rail linked Springfield to New Haven. The new projected route through Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton, and Greenfield to Vermont is being referred to as the Knowledge Corridor.
Part of the rail stimulus funs will also go to extending Amtrak’s current Downeaster route beyond Portland to Brunswick.
Amtrak currently offers several regional routes which service New England. Have a look at these pages on the Amtrak website for more detail:
The Vermonter, the Downeaster, the Lake Shore Limited, the Ethan Allen Express, the Northeast Regional, and of course the only "high-speed" route, the Acela Express.
New England also has a variety of tourist excursion trains which use restored cars from bygone eras to remind us, or give us our first taste, of what train travel was like when it was much more common. Here are a few train adventures you might like to try:
The Essex Steam Train of Essex, Connecticut. The Green Mountain Railroad in Vermont. The Cape Cod Central Railroad in Hyannis, and the Berkshire Scenic Railway from Lenox to Stockbridge, Mass. New Hampshire can boast the most scenic railroads out of any New England state, and here is a website that will link you to a variety of them. The Conway Scenic Railroad in Conway is one of them.
For more on National Train Day, have a look at this website.