PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Boston company wants to offer the first private passenger rail line in the nation in more than 30 years, reviving a once-popular business model that was stopped dead in its tracks decades ago.

Boston Surface Railroad Co. is planning a commuter rail line that would shuttle passengers between Worcester, Massachusetts, and Providence in about an hour. No private passenger rail line has existed since 1983, and it’s been even longer since there was a significant private investment in passenger rail.

While some experts doubt that private rail can be a viable business, others say the market demand is there. Companies in at least two other states – Florida and Texas – have passenger rail projects in the works.

“We’re going through changes in this country with how people travel. Everybody’s looking for more choices,” said Robert Puentes, director of the metropolitan infrastructure initiative at the Brookings Institution.

The 45-mile stretch between Worcester and Providence presents the perfect opportunity for commuter rail because there are existing well-maintained tracks, which are owned and used for freight by Providence and Worcester Railroad Co., said Vincent Bono, CEO of Boston Surface Railroad.

Bono likens the project to a proof-of-concept to see if a private company can use existing infrastructure for passenger rail service at relatively little cost.

“Because we’re private, because it’s an existing railroad, because they’re willing to operate it for us, we don’t have to spend ridiculous money,” he said. He hopes the rail will be up and running by 2017.