Boston – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) today announced the awarding of seven grants totaling more than $2.2 million as part of the 2016 Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP).

IRAP is a competitive state-funded public/private partnership program that provides financial assistance to eligible applicants who are prepared to invest in industry-based rail infrastructure access improvement projects.

“Improving access to the Commonwealth’s freight rail network is an important step in stimulating economic growth,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.  “We look forward to collaborating with the recipients to advance their important projects and ensure that Massachusetts businesses have the tools and resources to grow and thrive.”

The seven projects awarded IRAP grants are geographically diverse and are expected to:

  • Result in an additional 16,500 carloads carried by freight railroads per year;
  • Eliminate 37,000 truck trips annually from Massachusetts roadways;
  • Support the creation of 77 new jobs;
  • Support the retention of 240 existing jobs.


Created as part of the 2012 Transportation Bond Bill, IRAP provides grants to railroads, rail shippers and municipalities that identify a public benefit gained through improved rail transportation usage or economic growth that would be realized through improved access to rail assets.

The 2016 recipients are as follows:

Recipient Project / Location Amount Benefits
Providence And Worcester Railroad Southbridge Street Bridge / Worcester $500,000 The project will increase access to the freight rail system by replacing the weight restricted Southbridge Street Bridge. Replacing this bridge will improve efficiencies and reduce costs for shippers requiring heavy load shipments into P&Ws Worcester and Gardner facilities.
Parallel Products of New England Recycling Center Rail Loading Facility / New Bedford $500,000 The project will support the expansion and relocation of the current operation to a new facility in New Bedford, which will facilitate the hiring of 50 additional employees.  The project will improve access to the rail system through the construction of a new siding, and allow the applicant to ship recycled material by rail, thereby increasing rail volumes.
Excel Recycling, LLC Scrap Metal Siding Extension / Freetown $479,700 The project will support the expansion of the current operation by increasing the types of products the rail can handle. The project will allow the business to efficiently ship scrap directly to steel mills by rail. The extension of the existing rail spur will result in increased rail volumes, and allow Excel Recycling to expand the operation and directly hire 2 new employees.
Pan Am Southern, LLC Intermodal Facility Pad Enhancement / Ayer $464,172 The project will improve access to the freight rail system and result in increased volumes.  The improvement to the intermodal facility pad will allow Pan Am to handle 29,500 additional containers each year that would otherwise move by truck over the region’s roadways.
Pioneer Valley Railroad /
DCP Mainstream Terminal
Propane Terminal Siding Installation / Westfield $150,000 The rail spur investment project will increase the ability of DCP to accept additional rail shipments. DCP is currently constrained in the number of railcars it can accept each year due to capacity limitations in the Westfield area.  The rehabilitation of the rail spur will support the recent growth in DCP rail shipments, which has increased by 1,300 cars over the past 5 years.
Essroc Cement Corporation Railcar Unloading System / Palmer $77,364 The project will increase the volumes that Essroc Cement can accept by improving the rail spur and associated unloading facility. The existing facility currently limits their ability to handle the current demand and requires them to augment their supply through truck shipments.
Massachusetts. Central Railroad Boxcar capacity / South Barre $27,000 Kanzaki, Ware’s largest employer, is limited by the number of paper boxcars it is able to receive, store and switch to remain competitive. The additional boxcars will enable the railroad to provide additional storage capacity and provide on-call deliveries and minimize transportation costs.