MBTA Gives Electrification Go-Ahead

Written by Bill Wilson, Engineering Editor; and Editor-in-Chief, Railway Track & Structures
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MBTA’s Wabtec MPI HSP46 diesel-electric locomotives are the newest in the agency’s commuter rail fleet. MBTA photo.

The feelings were electric. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Fiscal and Management Control Board used one unanimous vote to clear the way for electrification of the state’s commuter rail system. The move will create better service to many communities in the state, MBTA said.

In a second unanimous vote, the board decided the Newburyport/Rockport line is best suited for the change and will be worked on first. The Newburyport/Rockport line connects Lynn, Revere, Chelsea and Everett to the city of Boston. The Fairmont line in Boston and the Providence/Stoughton line also will be top priorities.

The cost of upgrading the system is yet to be determined, but according to the MBTA’s 2040 Commuter Rail Vision, two alternatives for electrification would cost between $10.6 billion and $28.9 billion. Three pilot programs would cost $1.5 billion. MBTA has not identified funding sources for the project.

Categories: Commuter/Regional, Locomotives, M/W, News, Passenger Tags: ,