MBTA rail service returns to the drawbridge on May 23 | News

NEWBURYPORT – It will become both a little easier and a little more complicated for passengers on the Newburyport / Rockport Commuter Line to commute with the service changes from Monday.

The changes will take place over the next two months to accommodate signage, track and bridge work, the MBTA said.

Construction work means shuttles will replace trains on specific dates from Monday.

For users of the Rockport line, from this Monday, April 11 to April 22, shuttles will run between the Rockport and Salem commuter train stations. Trains will run from Salem to North Station in Boston. A separate calendar for each period can be found at mbta.com.

The good news for passengers using Rockport and Gloucester stations will be the long-awaited reopening of the Gloucester Drawbridge over the Annisquam River for train service on May 23, as the $100 million bridge replacement project is expected to be completed later this year.

The MBTA suspended service on the old drawbridge, which dated back to 1911, in April 2020 “due to unforeseen site conditions,” according to MBTA’s project website. Shuttle buses run from Gloucester and Rockport stations.

Safety and reliability work on the T for the Newburyport/Rockport line includes the replacement of the Commercial Street Bridge in Lynn; signal improvements at Gare du Nord; the installation of automatic train control signal upgrades as part of the positive train control project along the line; and additional track, rail, culvert and improvement projects that will take advantage of available track failures.

“These infrastructure investments will help modernize the commuter rail network and improve passenger safety, reliability and resilience,” said T.

The T said Newburyport/Rockport Line riders who typically purchase monthly passes should purchase no more than a Zone 3 pass for May and no more than an Interzone 5 pass for June. Passengers should also check timetables in advance for expected travel and arrival times.

To avoid upcoming construction work, commuters are encouraged to consider taking the Haverhill commuter rail line, or the blue or orange lines or working from home, if possible.

Here are some additional dates when shuttles will replace trains at various stations for signal, track and bridge work on the Rockport Branch:

  • April 23 to May 8: Shuttles will run between Rockport and West Gloucester. Trains will run from West Gloucester to North Station. A separate calendar for each period will be available on mbta.com
  • May 9-22: Shuttles will run from Rockport to Orient Heights with free shuttle transfer to the Blue Line. Chelsea station customers can use Silver Line 3.
  • May 23 to June 5: Trains will run from Rockport to Beverly. Shuttle buses will run from Beverly to Orient Heights with a free shuttle bus transfer to the Blue Line in Orient Heights. Customers at Chelsea station can use Silver Line 3. On May 23, the Gloucester Drawbridge reopens for rail service to Gloucester and Rockport stations.
  • From 6 June: normal weekday train service.
  • June 11-12: Trains will run from Rockport to Salem. Shuttle buses will operate from Salem to Orient Heights with free shuttle bus transfer to the Blue Line.

Learn more about the work of the Newburyport branch:

  • April 11 to May 8: Shuttles will operate from Newburyport to Salem. Trains will run from Salem to North Station. A separate schedule for each period will be available on mbta.com.
  • May 9 to June 5: Trains will run from Newburyport to Beverly. Shuttle buses will run from Beverly to Orient Heights with a free shuttle bus transfer to the Blue Line in Orient Heights. Customers at Chelsea station can use the Silver Line 3.
  • From 6 June: normal weekday train service.
  • June 11-12: Trains will run from Newburyport to Salem. Shuttle buses will operate from Salem to Orient Heights with free shuttle bus transfer to the Blue Line.

For more information, visit mbta.com.

About Kevin Strickland

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