Table 4.7: Metro and Suburban Rail
U.S., Canada, Western Europe and Australasia
Boston     (4.7.1, 2008.6)
City and Country
Population Served
System Length, km / mi
Annual Passengers (million)
Average Travel Distance, km / mi
Annual Traffic Density (million)
           
Boston region suburban rail lines arranged anti- (counter) clockwise (north, west, south), by operator.
Boston-B&M - 1970
US
 
283.1 / 175.5
5.6
24 / 15
0.5
PC (B&A) - 1970
   
71.5 / 44.3
0.6
32 / 20
0.3
PC (NYNH&H) - 1970
   
124.8 / 77.4
2.6
40 / 25
0.8
MBTA - rly - 1976
   
396.1 / 245.6
7.5
30 / 18
0.5
1981
   
398.4 / 247.0
9
"
0.7
1986
   
394.8 / 244.8
17
27.8 / 17.2
1.2
1991
   
413.2 / 256.2
19
29.3 / 18.1
1.3
1996
   
450.2 / 279.1
27.0
30.0 / 18.6
1.8
2001
   
566.2 / 351.1
37.0
34.2 / 21.2
1.3
2006
   
"
37.8
32.0 / 19.8
2.1
Rockport/Ipswich line-1995
   
72.0 / 44.6
2.7
32 / 20
1.2
Rockport Line-2004
   
56.9 / 35.3
2.2
30 / 18
1.1
Newburyport Line-2004
   
60.0 / 37.2
3.0
34 / 21
1.7
Haverhill Line-1995
   
53.0 / 32.9
1.7
19 / 12
0.6
2004
   
"
3.0
"
1.1
Lowell Line-1995
   
41.1 / 25.5
1.9
24 / 15
1.1
2004
   
"
3.1
"
1.8
Fitchburg Line-1995
   
79.7 / 49.4
1.7
35 / 22
0.8
2004
   
"
2.5
"
1.1
Framingham Line-1995
   
34.5 / 21.4
2.4
34 / 21
2.3
Worcester Line-2004
   
71.5 / 21.3
5.3
"
5.2
Needham Line-1995
   
22.1 / 13.7
1.8
18 / 11
1.4
2004
   
"
2.6
"
2.1
Franklin Line-1995
   
49.6 / 30.8
3.4
32 / 20
2.2
2004
   
"
4.2
"
2.8
Attleboro/Stoughton lines-1994
   
77.4 / 48.0
5.6
52 / 32
3.7
2004
   
"
7.8
"
5.2
Fairmount Line-1994
   
14.8 / 9.2
0.4
8 / 5
0.2
2004
   
"
0.7
"
0.4
Middleborough Line-2004
   
57.4 / 35.6
2.7
40 / 25
1.9
Plymouth/Kingston Line
   
60.3 / 37.4
2.8
40 / 25
1.9
Greenbush Line
   
42.7 / 26.5
2.3
24 / 15
1.3
* New Bedford/Fall River
 
440,000
107.4 / 66.6
2.4
40 / 25
0.9
             
NYNH&H Nantasket- ca. 1893
   
11.2 / 7.0
0.3
8 / 5
0.2
ca. 1896
   
"
0.7
"
0.5
*** 1907
   
"
0.6
"
1.4
             
BRB&L-1914
   
21.3 / 13.2
7.2
8.4 / 5.2
2.9
1927
   
"
13
"
5.1
             
metro-1913
   
21.6 / 13.4
110
5 / 3
25
1918
   
24.0 / 14.9
140
"
28
1924
   
30.3 / 18.8
150
"
25
1969
   
39.2 / 24.3
92.4
5.8 / 3.6
13.7
1975
   
53.1 / 32.9
78.9
"
8.6
1985
   
60.7 / 37.6
143
4.9 / 3.0
11.6
1990
   
"
179.8
"
14.5
2006
 
4,510,000
"
150.7
5.9 / 3.7
13.4
Blue Line-2004
   
9.6 / 5.9
21
4 / 2
8.6
Orange Line-2004
   
18.0 / 11.2
57
4 / 2
12.7
Red Line-2004
   
33.1 / 20.5
82.3
6 / 4
14.9
Green Line Subway-1997
   
5.6 / 3.5
50
2 / 1
14.3
Key to Symbols:
* = in planning; ** = under construction.
*** = operated for less than 12 months as noted; traffic density scaled up to annual rate.
@ = population corresponds with historic data year.
u = population within municipal boundary.
 
Notes for Table 4.7
Boston - B&M-1970: Boston and Maine Corporation, services operating from North Station. Services operated to:
--Salem – Beverly – Gloucester – Rockport ("Gloucester Branch").
Service Manchester – Rockport withdrawn 1965 January 17, restored 1965 June 28.
(New service on branch Salem – Danvers (8 km / 5 mi) studied, not advanced. Previous passenger service withdrawn 1959. Passenger traffic estimate: 1,700 / weekday.)
--Salem – Ipswich – Newburyport – Portsmouth (NH; "Eastern Route").
Service Newburyport – Portsmouth (NH), 31.7 km / 19.6 mi, withdrawn 1965 January 17.
Service Ipswich – Newburyport, 14.0 km / 8.7 mi, withdrawn 1965 January 17, restored 1965 June 28. Service again withdrawn 1976 April, restored 1998 October 26.
--Wakefield – Reading ("Western Route").
--Winchester – Wilmington – Lawrence – Haverhill Dover (NH) Portland (ME; "Western Route," "Wildcat Branch," "New Hampshire Main Line").
Service Dover (NH) – Portland (ME), 70.5 km / 43.7 mi, withdrawn 1965 January 3.
Service Haverhill – Dover (NH), 55.1 km / 34.2 mi, withdrawn 1967 June 30.
(Service Haverhill Dover Portland restored by Amtrak intercity trains from 2001 December 14.)
Service Wilmington – Haverhill withdrawn 1976 June. Restored 1979 December 17, operating Wakefield – Reading – North Wilmington – Lawrence – Haverhill. Previous service on segment Reading – North Wilmington withdrawn 1959.
(Extension of regional service Haverhill – Plaistow (NH, 8.7 km / 5.4 mi) studied, not advanced. Passenger traffic estimate: 1,700 / weekday.)
--Winchester – Wilmington – Lowell – Nashua (NH) – Manchester (NH) – Concord (NH) – White River Junction (VT; "New Hampshire Main Line").
Service Concord (NH) – White River Junction (VT), 111.7 km / 69.2 mi, withdrawn 1965 January 3.
Service Lowell – Nashua (NH, 21.6 km / 13.4 mi), – Manchester (NH, 48.6 km / 30.1 mi), – Concord (NH, 77.0 km / 47.8 mi), withdrawn 1967 June 30. Restored on experimental basis, 1980 January 28 – 1981 March 1.
(Extension of service to Nashua studied, not advanced. Passenger traffic estimate: 3,100 / weekday.)
--Winchester – Woburn, 3.5 km / 2.1 mi ("Woburn Branch"). Service withdrawn 1981 January 30.)
--Cambridge – Arlington – Bedford, 16.7 km / 10.4 mi ("Lexington Branch"). Peak period, peak direction only. Service withdrawn 1977 January 10.
--Cambridge – South Acton – Ayer – Fitchburg – (Gardner; "Fitchburg Line").
Service Fitchburg – Gardner withdrawn 1960.
Service West Concord – Fitchburg, 44.6 km / 27.7 mi, withdrawn 1965 January 17. Restored West Concord – Ayer, 22.9 km / 14.2 mi, 1965 June 28.
Service South Acton – Ayer, 17.8 km / 11.0 mi, withdrawn 1975 April 30. Service South Acton – Fitchburg – Gardner, 88.9 km / 55.1 mi, restored 1980 January 13.
Service Fitchburg – Gardner, 25.2 km / 15.6 mi, withdrawn 1986 December 31. (Re-extension of service to Gardner studied, not advanced. Passenger traffic estimate 50 / weekday.)
--Cambridge – South Sudbury – Hudson ("Central Massachusetts Branch"). Peak period, peak direction only.
Service South Sudbury – Hudson, 12.9 km / 8.0 mi, withdrawn 1965 January 17.
Service Cambridge – South Sudbury, 25.1 km / 15.6 mi, withdrawn 1971 November 26.
PC (B&A)-1970: Penn Central Transportation Company, service over former Boston and Albany Railroad Company (subsidiary undertaking of New York Central Railroad Company), Boston – Framingham – Worcester. Peak period, peak direction only. Trains operated from South Station.
Service Framingham – Worcester withdrawn 1975 October 27. Peak-period, peak-direction service restored 1994 September 26. Full-time service started 1996 December 14.
(New service on branch Framingham – Leominster (53 km / 33 mi) studied, not advanced. Previous passenger service withdrawn 1931-1937. Passenger traffic estimate: 3,000 / weekday.)
PC (NH)-1970: Penn Central Transportation Company, service over former New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company. Trains operated from South Station to:
--Providence (RI, "Shore Line;" now known as "Northeast Corridor").
Service Attleboro – Providence (RI) operated peak period, peak direction only from 1979 April. Service withdrawn 1981 February 20. Peak-period service restored 1988 February 1. Full-time weekday service restored 2000 December 11.
See also Providence (Table 4.24).
--Readville – Dedham 3 km / 2 mi ("Dedham Branch"). Peak period, peak direction only.
Service withdrawn 1967 April 21.
--Canton Junction – Stoughton ("Stoughton Branch").
--Forest Hills – Needham Junction – Needham Heights ("Needham Branch").
--Needham Junction – Millis – West Medway ("West Medway Branch"). Peak period, peak direction only.
Service Millis – West Medway, 6 km / 4 mi, withdrawn 1966 April 22.
Service Needham Junction – Millis, 16 km / 10 mi, withdrawn 1967 April 21.
(Restoration of service Needham Junction – Millis studied, not advanced. Passenger traffic estimate: 2,700 / weekday.)
--Readville – Franklin – Blackstone ("New York & New England").
Service Franklin – Blackstone, 15 km / 9 mi, withdrawn 1966 April 22.
MBTA acquired commuter rail infrastructure and rolling stock from B&M and PC in 1976. Most of the service withdrawals outlined above took place because local (and state) authorities declined to provide funding for continued operation.
MBTA-rly-general: The total system length is less than the sum of route lengths for individual services because of significant overlap. Amtrak intercity trains operate on the Lowell, Haverhill, Framingham-Worcester and Attleboro lines.
Fairmount Line: Passenger service (withdrawn 1944 March 11) restored 1979 November 3 to provide bypass for Stoughton and Franklin trains away from Southwest Corridor project (which included placing Boston – Providence line in cutting). New Southwest Corridor line opened 1987 October 5. Fairmount Line passenger service retained between Boston and Fairmount because of public support, re-extended to Readville, 9.2 km / 5.7 mi from South Station, from 1987 November 30.
(Needham Branch service suspended for duration of Southwest Corridor construction project, 1979 October 13 - 1987 October 19.)
Franklin Line extension: Franklin/Dean College – Forge Park / I-495, 4.5 km / 2.8 mi, opened 1989 June 2.
(Extension Forge Park / I-495 – Milford (10 km / 6 mi) studied, not advanced. Previous passenger service withdrawn 1920-1940. Passenger traffic estimate: 1,800 / weekday.)
Old Colony service restoration: "Old Colony" is an historic reference to the Commonwealth [federal state] of Massachusetts, to the southeastern region in particular, and to the Old Colony Railroad Company which served this region. The Old Colony Railroad was leased by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company in 1893 and operated as part of the NYNH&H system for some years thereafter. Passenger service was withdrawn from 1959 June 30 because of financial losses and opening of the Southeast Expressway motorway.
The restored Old Colony commuter rail service extends 55.6 km / 34.5 mi South Bay Junction – Middleborough/Lakeville, 44 km / 27 mi from Braintree to Plymouth, with a new 2.9 km / 1.8-mi branch Halifax – Kingston/Route 3. Opened 1997 September 29.
(Extensions Middleborough/Lakeville – Wareham (21.8 km / 13.5 mi) and Wareham – Hyannis (46.6 km / 28.9 mi) studied, not advanced. Previous passenger service withdrawn 1959; summer-only service operated 1984-1988. Passenger traffic estimates: 1,300 / weekday Middleborough/Lakeville – Wareham; 1,800 / weekday Wareham – Hyannis.)
Greenbush Line: Quincy Center – Greenbush, 29 km / 18 mi. Part of Old Colony commuter rail project, delayed by environmental concerns. Construction started 2003, opened 2007 October 31. Traffic density estimate based on ridership forecast (8,400 / weekday).
New Bedford/Fall River: "New Bedford - Fall River Commuter Rail Extension," in planning. To extend Stoughton – Myricks Junction, 33.5 km / 20.8 mi, branching to Fall River, 19.7 km / 12.2 mi, and New Bedford, 23.5 km / 14.6 mi. Traffic density estimate based on ridership forecast (8,560 / weekday). Completion planned by 2016.
Previous passenger service withdrawn 1958 September 5.
Lowell-Nashua (NH): Extension, 19.3 km / 10.2 mi, in planning. “Major Investment Study” published 1999. Financing has not been secured (at 2007 December) Opening planned by 2009.
North-South Rail Link: connection between North Station and South Station, with new underground platforms at North Station and South Station, and a new Central station near Aquarium metro station. Total length of project, including approaches from portals north of the Charles River, east of Back Bay station and north of South Bay Junction, about 6 km / 4 mi. Major Investment Study (MIS) published 2003, alternatives include two- or four-track line, with or without Central station. Boston commuter rail traffic forecast to reach 160,535 / weekday by 2020; the “full-build” alternative (four tracks, three stations) would increase this by 59,000. Tunnel walls built on part of route as part of Central Artery/Tunnel Project (CA/T; known as "Big Dig"). Financing has not been secured (at 2007 December).
NYNH&N Nantasket: New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company, Nantasket Division. Nantasket Jct – Pemberton electrified 1895 June 28 with overhead contact system.
"ca. 1893" pertains to passenger traffic before electrification: 304,292.
"ca. 1896" pertains to passenger traffic after electrification: 702,419.
Operated for 3 1/2 months only at 1907, traffic density scaled up to annual rate. Passenger service operated only during summer season from 1925. Passenger service withdrawn and electrification discontinued 1932.
Additional segments (Nantasket Jct – East Weymouth – Braintree, and Nantasket Jct – Cohasset) electrified 1896-1899 with contact rail ("third rail"). Electrification discontinued 1904.
BRB&L: Operator title: Boston Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad Company. Operated East Boston – Winthrop Junction – Revere Beach – Lynn. 914-mm / 3’ gauge. Electrified 1928. Closed 1940 January 27.
Boston metro Blue Line built to Revere Beach and Wonderland on 6.9 km / 4.3 mi of the former BRB&L alignment. Opened in stages 1952-1954. Remainder of alignment to Lynn owned by the Commonwealth [federal state] of Massachusetts and held for possible use by metro extension.
Green Line Subway: As noted in the body of the report (“Rail Transit Systems Worldwide”), the authors chose to include the Boston Green Line "Subway" segment in Figure 4 / Table 4, instead of Figure 3 / Table 3. This segment is an obvious “outlier” among "Tramway, Light Railway and LRT" systems.
The metro Blue Line Airport station is near, but not at, Boston Logan International Airport (General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport). The first Airport station was opened on 1952 January 5. The current station, located 150m / 500' east of the first station, was built from 2000 April and was opened on 2004 June 3.
(Annual passenger traffic at Logan Airport was more than 28.1 million at 2007. Of these, nearly 4.2 million were international passengers. Of the more than 23.8 million domestic passengers, nearly 2.8 million were regional and commuter passengers.)
 
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