“If it comes to a point that where the study is completed, and there is a recommendation to go forward, and the town of Plaistow takes a vote that says no, then I can’t imagine a scenario where the Department of Transportation wants to go forward with a rail project," said Patrick Herlihy, director of aeronautics for NHDOT.
In a nonbinding referendum in 2012, residents overwhelmingly said they would not want a layover station located in Plaistow, 619-308.
But there were many who were in favor of the study, including Rick Blair of Plaistow. He's legally blind and said a train station in Plaistow would be a huge advantage to him.
“I don’t have the luxury of getting in my car and driving to the train station,” he said. “I would love to see a train station in Plaistow.”
Town Planner Leigh Komornick spoke passionately about the benefits of the study as well.
“Everyone needs to let the study happen,” she said. “What’s important is knowing that this is the study and not the project yet. If we don’t study this, we’re never going to know if this would ever work.”
Many had specific concerns about what they wanted to see in the study. Carla Mora of Plaistow said she was concerned about what safety procedures would be in place at a potential station.
“I moved from Boston to Plaistow to be safer,” she said. “Just last week, someone pulled a knife on a conductor on a train in Haverhill. That disturbs me.”
Bill Bennett, a former selectman in Atkinson, was concerned about how long trains would be idling at a layover station.
“The locomotive idling is supposed to be an hour before they start in service every morning,” he said. “I don’t know why you would ever have to idle a locomotive for an hour.”