Needham Line

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Needham Line train 614.jpg
Needham Line train #614 leaving Forest Hills inbound to South Station.
Type Commuter rail
System MBTA Commuter Rail
Locale Greater Boston
Termini Needham Heights
South Station
Stations 12
Daily ridership 8,218 daily[1]
Owner MBTA
Operator(s) MBCR
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Route map

The Needham Line is a branch of the MBTA Commuter Rail system, running west from downtown Boston, Massachusetts through Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, West Roxbury, and the town of Needham.

Operating weekdays only, the stations (from South Station) are: Back Bay, Ruggles, Forest Hills, Roslindale Village, Bellevue, Highland, West Roxbury, Hersey, Needham Junction, Needham Center, and Needham Heights.


Highland station in 1904

The line from Forest Hills to West Roxbury was built in the mid 19th century as part of the Dedham Branch of the Boston and Providence Rail Road. The line from West Roxbury to Needham Heights was built in 1906 as a cutoff; the segment from West Roxbury to Dedham was subsequently abandoned. The remaining line was purchased by the MBTA from Penn Central on January 27, 1973, along with most of the other southside lines.[2] The stop at Forest Hills, not used since 1940, was reopened in June 1973.[2]

When the plans to replace the Washington Street Elevated were drawn up in the 1960s, the new Orange Line was planned to continue past Forest Hills to Needham Heights. However, as the project was stalled over the next few decades, funding was found only to complete the replacement portion to Forest Hills in 1987, and so the Needham Line was kept as a locomotive-hauled commuter service. During Southwest Corridor construction from 1979 to 1987, the line was closed.[2]

Historically, the line has had Saturday service but not Sunday service. Experimental Sunday service was operated from July 11, 1992 until February 14, 1993 along with other new southside weekend service, some of which was made permanent. As part of systemwide service cuts due to budget shortfalls, Saturday service was eliminated on July 7, 2012.[2] $300,000 in funding for Saturday service restoration is included in the state's 2015 budget, although it is not yet known when it will begin.[3]

Station List[edit]

Miles[1] Zone fare City Station Opening date Connections and notes
0.0 1A Boston Handicapped/disabled access South Station 1899 MBTA: Red Line subway; all south side Commuter Rail lines; 4, 7, 11, 448, 449, and 459 buses
Amtrak: Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited, and Northeast Regional
1.2 1A Handicapped/disabled access Back Bay 1899 MBTA: Orange Line subway; Providence/Stoughton Line and Franklin Line; 10, 39, and 170 buses
Amtrak: Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited, and Northeast Regional
2.2 1A Handicapped/disabled access Ruggles May 4, 1987 MBTA: Orange Line subway; Providence/Stoughton Line and Franklin Line

Ruggles also serves as a major bus terminal, with connections to 13 MBTA Bus routes: 8, 15, 19, 22, 23, 28, 42, 43, 44, 45, 47, CT2, CT3

5.0 1A Handicapped/disabled access Forest Hills 1909 Orange Line subway

Forest Hills serves as a major bus transfer station; 18 MBTA Bus routes terminate at the station on three separate busways: 16, 21, 30, 31, 32, 34, 34E, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 42, 50, 51

6.4 1 Handicapped/disabled access Roslindale Village circa 1870 MBTA Bus: 14, 30, 35, 36, 37, 51
7.2 1 Handicapped/disabled accessBellevue circa 1870 MBTA Bus: 35, 36, 37, 38,
7.6 1 Handicapped/disabled accessHighland circa 1870 MBTA Bus: 35, 36, 37
8.0 1 Handicapped/disabled accessWest Roxbury circa 1870 MBTA Bus: 35, 36, 37
10.9 2 Needham Handicapped/disabled accessHersey circa 1906
12.0 2 Handicapped/disabled accessNeedham Junction circa 1870 MBTA Bus: 59
12.7 2 Handicapped/disabled accessNeedham Center circa 1870 MBTA Bus: 59
13.7 2 Handicapped/disabled accessNeedham Heights circa 1870 MBTA Bus: 59


  1. ^ a b "Ridership and Service Statistics". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Belcher, Jonathan (31 December 2011). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Dame, Jonathan (1 August 2014). "Saturday service restored on Needham line". Wicked Local Needham. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 

External links[edit]