It will be another four months before single-track service on Gloucester’s new drawbridge over the Annisquam River is restored, allowing commuter rail travel between West Gloucester and Rockport stations, the MBTA announced Thursday. .
During the $ 100 million bridge replacement project, users of the Rockport Line used replacement shuttles between West Gloucester and Rockport stations, with MBTA saying it “has the capacity to offer buses additional if user demand justifies it “.
Service on the new bridge was due to be reinstated in September, but an MBTA official at the time said supply chain issues combined with the complexity of building the bridge meant service to Rockport would not be restored as expected. Service on the original 1911 bridge was suspended in April 2020 “due to unforeseen site conditions,” the project website says.
“As replacement construction continues,” the MBTA said in a prepared statement, “the outage has accelerated other projects planned for the Rockport Line that would have required service outages later in the year. 2022. Several intensive projects were launched that could only be accomplished when service is suspended, and this extended suspension of rail service has enabled MBTA to carry out the projects more efficiently. “
This includes 100% replacement of more than 11,000 treated wood fasteners with plastic fasteners without preservative chemicals, the MBTA said. The section between Cleveland Street in Gloucester and Poole’s Lane in Rockport was reconstructed using these new ties. In addition, “the rail has also been treated to make it conform to current neutral temperature standards to avoid track alignment issues in very hot weather. The track has also been realigned both vertically and horizontally.
The MBTA also removed and replaced 11 150-year-old ‘stacked stone’ box culverts with concrete pipes to restore water flows, ensuring the new culverts will be ready for expected changes in weather conditions due to climate change. . A 12th culvert, deemed to be at risk, will be replaced in early spring, before service resumes.
For reliable service, switches and special track work at Rockport beyond Poole’s Lane have been renewed and brought up to current standards.
The MBTA also deep cleaned and repainted the Gloucester and Rockport stations and replaced the Maple Street crossing in Gloucester.
A new interlock was installed between Gloucester station and the drawbridge to replace an obsolete spring-loaded switch. “The lockout allows the train dispatcher located in the central dispatch office to control the track used by each train and allows the dispatcher to display signals to control the movement of trains in the area,” the MBTA said.
The work to be completed includes a project to remove the loose rock from the ledges along the tracks by the Highway 128 bridge.
“Other regular cyclical maintenance operations will also be scheduled to maximize the remaining time as much as possible,” the MBTA said. “This work has been approved and should take place before service resumes. “
More information is available by visiting mbta.com, or by connecting with the MBTA on Twitter @MBTA, Facebook / TheMBTA or Instagram @theMBTA.
Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-675-2714, or by email at [email protected]