The South Coast Rail project continues to move forward as we approach 2019.
According to a release that was looking ahead to the new year by Jean Fox, MassDOT Project Manager and Kim Dobosz, MBTA Project Manager, notifications will begin soon for the award and start of early action construction projects for South Coast Rail Phase 1. Work will begin on these packages in early 2019.
The early action projects will ready the right-of-way for passenger rail construction by preordering new track turnouts, improving a grade crossing, replacing old granite culverts with new precast concrete culverts, and reconstructing the four rail bridges on the New Bedford Main Line. The MBTA has also begun the process of seeking an independent Program Management/Construction Manager for Phase 1 as design plans are being finalized.
•Phase 1 will extend the existing Middleborough/Lakeville Commuter Rail Line to Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford.
•Design and permitting of the Full Build Stoughton Electric Service are continuing. This route will travel from Boston’s South Station to Stoughton using a portion of the Northeast Corridor. The route continues south along a combination of inactive right-of-way and freight railroad before splitting south of Taunton for terminus stations in Fall River and New Bedford.
•Phase 1 service will include a total of 26 trains (each-way) for weekday service. The MBTA will operate three morning peak trains and three evening peak trains to both New Bedford and Fall River. Taunton and Middleborough will see up to six morning and six evening peak trains because all of the service will pass through those communities.
•During off-peak periods, three trains will operate on a 3-3 ½ hour frequency.
•Anticipated Full Build service will include a total of 40 daily trips from Boston, half bound for New Bedford and half bound for Fall River.
•Operations details will be confirmed as design advances.
•Phase 1 (Middleborough Early Service) will provide service to nine existing stations. The project will require six new stations:
•New Middleborough Station at Pilgrim Junction
•Fall River Depot
•Full Build service will include a total of ten new stations (North Easton, Easton Village, Raynham Place, Taunton, East Taunton, Freetown, Fall River Depot, Battleship Cove, King’s Highway and Whale’s Tooth) and two reconstructed stations (Canton Center and Stoughton).
•The stations will comply with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) Standards, including 800-foot high-level platforms for “all doors” boarding. Other amenities will include benches, canopies and parking (in most locations).
•The MBTA will construct two overnight layover facilities, sites for storing the trains at night when they are not in use, near each terminus station. The train sets start and end each service day from these facilities.
•Phase 1 will build two new layover stations in Fall River (Weaver’s Cove) and New Bedford (Wamsutta). Each will include six storage tracks, crew quarters, a maintenance shed and parking facilities. For Phase 1 service, South Coast Rail will also use the existing Middleborough Layover facility.