Governor Deval Patrick today celebrated the grand opening of the new Yawkey Commuter Rail Station and the start of enhanced Commuter Rail service on the Framingham/ Worcester Line. The Yawkey Commuter Rail station, which serves Fenway Park and the Longwood Medical area, is now fully accessible, allows for increased service along the Worcester/Framingham line and will expand economic opportunities for each city and town along the line. The Governor was joined by MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Timothy Murray, Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino and MASCO President Marilyn Swartz-Lloyd.
"The opening of Yawkey Station is the culmination of many years of cooperation and partnership to increase access to accessible, convenient and efficient public transportation between Worcester and Fenway," said Governor Patrick. "This project shows that our growth strategy is real, not rhetorical. We must use public investment -- of time, money and ideas -- to stimulate growth and build opportunity for our residents.
During construction, the tracks at Yawkey Commuter Rail Station were realigned to allow for double-track capacity, serving as the catalyst for expanded Framingham/Worcester Line service. This increases commuter options from Worcester to Boston, connecting the Commonwealth's two largest cities, as well as along the entire length of the Framingham/Worcester Line.
"By increasing service from Boston to Worcester, MassDOT continues to encourage economic growth in and around the region," said Secretary Davey. "The Framingham/Worcester Line serves 13,000 customers daily and continues to demonstrate consistent growth, and MassDOT is confident that with this expansion, we will see that number climb."
With the new schedule, inbound departures from Worcester to Boston increase from 17 to 20 trains per day. Outbound departures from Boston to Worcester will also increase, from 16 to 20 trains per day. The service will also offer three new off-peak trains, including a new departure at 11:10 p.m. for those leaving the area later in the evening. Additionally, there will be an increase from two to three trains leaving Boston, scheduled to arrive in Worcester before 8:30 a.m. Likewise, there will be an increase in service during peak times, with a new train departing from South Station at 6:40 p.m., stopping at Yawkey and then ending in Worcester. An additional new outbound train will depart South Station at 9:25 p.m. before stopping at Yawkey. The 9:25 p.m. train will shorten the previous nearly two hour evening gap to one hour.
"The renovated Yawkey Way Commuter Rail Station and the expanded Worcester/Framingham rail schedule will have a profound impact on many of our fans who use public transportation," said Lucchino. "With 40 stops per day under the new schedule - more than twice as many as before -- visitors from the Metrowest area will have greater flexibility getting to and from Fenway Park for games, events and visits to this vibrant neighborhood."
"Smart transportation investments have proven effective time and again in generating private sector job creation," said Murray. "Strengthening the transportation network between New England's two largest cities, Boston and Worcester, through commuter rail expansion will build on that legacy."
Yawkey Commuter Rail station now has two fully accessible, full-length train platforms, four new elevators and an accessibility ramp. The main entrance is now on the new Yawkey Way Extension, which provides vehicular and pedestrian access off of Brookline Avenue through an area that had been used for Red Sox parking. In addition, new access to Maitland Street and Beacon Street was created, as well as a bike share station and new waiting areas with canopies and windscreens. The new Yawkey Station will provide more convenient, safer and more comfortable access to thousands of people living, working or visiting the Fenway neighborhood.
"Twenty-six hundred employees commute from the Worcester/Framingham commuter shed," said Swartz-Lloyd. "Additional morning and afternoon stops will significantly reduce the commuting time for employees who use this line and we hope it will entice even more from the area to switch from driving. When MASCO funded the first engineering feasibility study in 2005, no one thought this would be possible. It's gratifying that this is now a reality."
"I am proud to say that Yawkey Commuter Rail station is now fully accessible to all wishing to use its services," said GM Scott. "This is another important step in making the entire MBTA system fully ADA compliant."
The Framingham/Worcester Line was finalized with public participation from over 500 customer responses that were received in response to MBTA inquiries surrounding the expanded schedule. The Patrick Administration worked closely with members of the Legislature to make sure that the needs of our constituents were heard while crafting this improved schedule.
"The new Yawkey Station is an important transportation enhancement for serving the Longwood Medical area and the Fenway neighborhood - both economic engines for our State," said Senator Will Brownsberger.
"Today marks an important step in the continued revitalization of downtown Worcester," said Representative Dan Donahue. "This increase in train service from Union Station is a long time coming for the city of Worcester. The city is poised to take off with housing and economic development projects throughout the city, and the added train service only amplifies what is already happening in Worcester."
"To invest in public transit is to invest in the city's economic future," said Boston City Councilor At Large Ayanna Pressley. "By improving our public transportation system, we are not only increasing access to economic opportunities, but also connecting communities and improving the quality of life for residents. I commend the Governor for his vision and leadership on this and thank the Mayor of Boston (past & present), as well as the many community partners, activists and development organizations who have worked tirelessly to see Yawkey Commuter Rail Station to fruition."
Former Lieutenant Governor Murray, along with members of the Legislature from cities and towns along the Framingham/Worcester Line arrived to Monday's event on the new 512 train that departs Worcester's historic Union Station at 7:35 a.m. They were greeted at Yawkey Station just before 9:00 a.m. by Governor Patrick, Secretary Davey and the other guests.