Worcester Commuter Rail Line Improvement Project Begins August 25

Crews will be replacing 38,000 feet of rail to improve service
Work may mean 5 – 10 minute delays on weekends and after the weekday morning rush 

BOSTON – August 20, 2018 – The MBTA and its commuter rail operating partner Keolis announced today that the Worcester Commuter Rail Line Improvement Project will begin on Saturday, August 25, and continue through Saturday, October 20. This project involves replacing 38,000 feet of rail along the corridor of the Worcester line.

This eight-week improvement project may lead to 5 to 10 minute delays for some trains operating on weekends and some trains operating after the morning rush hour on weekdays. No weekday morning rush hour trains will be impacted.

In addition, in order to accommodate the improvement project and assist customers with planning their trips, three mid-day weekday trains will be re-timed to depart 10 minutes later than the normally-scheduled time. These three trains are number:

511 (which normally departs at 10:15 a.m. from South Station), 513 (which normally departs at 11:55 a.m. from South Station) and 516 (which normally departs at 12:05 p.m. from Worcester).

“Ongoing investments to upgrade our system will lead to further improvements in the reliability of our service,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez. “We recognize that this essential work will impact certain trains and cause inconveniences, and we appreciate our customers’ patience as we make these core investments in our system.”

Rail replacement projects require speed restrictions to ensure a safe work environment for crews. If trains are delayed as a result of the work zone speed restrictions required for this improvement project, passenger communications will be shared via on-board announcements, T-Alerts and the @MBTA_CR Twitter account.

Additionally, MBTA and Keolis customer service staff will make announcements in stations leading up to and during this project and will distribute informational flyers to passengers who typically ride these specific trains.

“MBTA and Keolis teams have been making critical infrastructure investments across the entire network over the last four years,” said David Scorey, Keolis General Manager and CEO. “There is more work to do, and this initiative contributes to that progress in a way that does not impact the morning commute. However, passengers are encouraged to add 5 – 10 minutes into their schedules for off-peak service and evening rush hour.”

Keolis and MBTA crews will be replacing 38,000 feet of rail in areas of the Worcester line. A majority of the rail replacement work will be performed near Back Bay Station during the day on weekends and between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. Additional work will occur between Wellesley Hills and Wellesley Square, as well as near Grafton Station during the day on the weekends. Work near Grafton Station may also take place over one weekend during the day as time allows.

This work is in addition to 200,000 rail ties and 10 miles of rail that have already been replaced by Keolis and MBTA crews over the last four years. Improvements to this infrastructure help to improve service. For example, the previous work to replace rail ties helped to reduce the impact of heat-related speed restrictions during the summer by 97 percent from 2015 to 2017.