Wednesday, February 14, 2007

New Fitchburg station could cause big problems

(Originally Posted February 2, 2007)

The recent proposal to extend the Fitchburg Commuter Rail line to West Fitchburg / "Wachusett" is great for commuters who currently drive down Route 2 to stations like Leominster and Littleton, or all the way to Boston, but for those who already ride the line, such an increase in ridership could spell disaster. As is stated in the Sentinel & Enterprise article, what should be addressed first is an increase in speed and reduction of trip times on the line. As it is, Fitchburg to Boston takes at least 90 minutes. A few years ago, "express" trains were added, which bypass inner stops between South Acton and Porter Square, but these trips are only about 10-15 minutes shorter than normal. These were a start, but if you add anticipated increased ridership, trains would be jammed and the line would reach capacity. We (I live and commute on this line) need more express trains, we need double-deck cars, and we need a more uniform schedule that doesn't feature 2 or 3 hour gaps in service to the outer stations. I know this will take a LOT of work, and at this time they don't have the crews or equipment reliability to do this, but these issues should be addressed before any extension to the line is made.

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