Newburyport/Rockport Line

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Eastern Route train.jpg
An outbound train crosses the Mystic River
Type Commuter Rail
Locale Greater Boston
Termini North Station
Newburyport or Rockport
Stations 12 (Newburyport Line)
14 (Rockport Line)
(7 serve both lines)
Services 2
Daily ridership 18,503[1]
Owner Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Operator(s) MBCR
Character Elevated and surface-level
Rolling stock Commuter rail cars
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Route map
Former route to Portland, Maine
Portsmouth (closed 1965)
North Hampton (closed 1965)
Hampton (closed 1965)
North Beverly
Gloucester Draw (Annisquam River)
Harbor (closed 1985)
West Gloucester
Manchester Draw (Manchester Harbor)
Beverly Farms
Prides Crossing
Beverly Depot
Beverly Draw (Danvers River)
Peabody Branch (freight only)
Salem Tunnel
Salem (moved 1987)
Saugus Branch
River Works
(General Electric employees only)
Saugus Draw (Saugus River)
Saugus Branch
Mystic River
Haverhill Line
Fitchburg and Lowell Lines
Charles River Bridge
North Station

The Newburyport/Rockport Line is a branch of the MBTA Commuter Rail system, running northeast from downtown Boston, Massachusetts towards Cape Ann and the Merrimack Valley, serving the North Shore. The first leg serves Chelsea, Lynn, Swampscott, Salem, and Beverly. From there, a northern branch of the line serves Hamilton, Ipswich, Rowley and Newburyport. The line also branches east from Beverly, serving Manchester, Gloucester and Rockport. A bicycle coach is offered on the Rockport branch during the summer.[2]


After 22 years terminating at Ipswich, the line was restored to Newburyport in 1998

The Eastern Route main line between Boston and Portsmouth, New Hampshire opened in 1836 as the Eastern Railroad. Ferries were used to transport passengers between the East Boston terminal and Boston proper. The line was extended to Portland, Maine, in 1842 under a track-sharing agreement with the Boston and Maine Railroad.[3] The Gloucester Branch was constructed in 1847, but despite local support, it was not extended to Rockport until November 1861.[4] In 1854, with the opening of the Grand Junction Railroad, the Eastern Railroad acquired direct access to downtown Boston.[3] This access was more convenient than its previous access, which required using the Saugus Branch or the South Reading Branch Railroad.

The Boston & Maine leased the Eastern Railroad in 1884, and in 1893 the new North Union Station became the terminus of the B&M, its subsidiaries the Eastern Railroad and Boston & Lowell Railroad, and the Fitchburg Railroad.

In the 1970s, the B&M passenger service - which by that time was almost exclusively commuter service - began to become financially unviable until the MBTA subsidized, and then acquired, the services. The line beyond Newburyport was abandoned in 1982; however, commuter service had been cut back from Newburyport to Ipswich in 1976.[3] In 1998, service was restored to Newburyport.

Owing to its position along the North Shore coastline, the Newburyport/Rockport Line has a large number of river crossings, including movable bridges over the Saugus River and Danvers River on the mainline as well as Days Creek and the Annisquam River on the Rockport Branch. Draw Number 7 over the Mystic River between Somerville and Everett, built in 1877, was the oldest jackknife drawbridge in the country until it was replaced by a fixed high-level concrete span on August 26, 1989. The new $34.2 million bridge, which was completed nine months ahead of schedule, eliminated the 5 miles per hour (8.0 km/h) speed restriction on the old bridge.[5][6]

Station listing[edit]

State Milepost[1] City Station Opening date Connections and notes
MA 0.0 Boston Handicapped/disabled access North Station 1898 Terminus and connection with MBTA Orange Line and Green Line, as well as Fitchburg Line, Lowell Line, Haverhill Line, Amtrak Downeaster service to Maine and 4 bus
4.6 Chelsea Chelsea November 29, 1985 Station connects to buses 112 and 114.
9.9 Lynn River Works Station is accessible during weekdays to employees of the nearby General Electric plant.
11.5 Central Square/Lynn 1992 (Current station)[7] MBTA Bus: 426, 429, 431, 435, 436, 439, 441, 442, 455, 456 and 459
12.8 Swampscott Swampscott 1868[7] MBTA Bus: 441/448, 455/459
16.8 Salem Handicapped/disabled access Salem 1959[7] Station is near the intersection of Massachusetts Routes 107 and 114
MBTA Bus: 450, 451, 455, and 459
18.3 Beverly Beverly Depot 1897 Station is on the edge of downtown Beverly between Rantoul Street and the Bass River; it is the closest station to Montserrat College of Art and the Cabot Street Cinema Theatre. Tickets are sold at a nearby dry cleaner, Depot Cleaners. The former station house has been converted into the Beverly Depot Restaurant. It connects to the Beverly Shoppers Shuttle bus line.

Newburyport Line[edit]

State Milepost[1] City Station Opening date Connections and notes
MA 20.8 Beverly Handicapped/disabled access North Beverly Station lies on Route 1A among the shops that line Enon Street. Bus 451 travels to Salem.
22.7 Hamilton Handicapped/disabled access Hamilton/Wenham Station lies between the Wenham and Hamilton town centers, and tickets may be purchased at the Hamilton Convenience Store.
27.6 Ipswich Handicapped/disabled access Ipswich Ipswich Essex Explorer provides weekend service during the summer to Crane Beach, downtown Essex and other nearby attractions.
31.2 Rowley Handicapped/disabled access Rowley 1998 Station is on the eastern outskirts of town, with connections to MVRTA buses, serving the Merrimack Valley.
36.2 Newburyport Handicapped/disabled access Newburyport 1998 (Current station)[7] Station is on the southern outskirts of town, with connections to MVRTA buses.

Rockport Line[edit]

State Milepost[1] City Station Opening date Connections and notes
MA 19.8 Beverly Montserrat Station is close to Beverly Hospital, and lies on Route 22 leading north to Essex. Tickets may be purchased at the nearby convenience store.
22.2 Prides Crossing Station serves the village of Prides Crossing, between Beverly Cove and Beverly Farms, and is close to Endicott College. The former station house has been converted into Prides Crossing Confections.
22.9 Handicapped/disabled access Beverly Farms 1898 Station serves the small residential village of Beverly Farms, and is the closest station to Gordon College in Wenham.
25.4 Manchester Handicapped/disabled access Manchester Tickets may be purchased at Richdale's, and is close to Singing Beach.
29.6 Gloucester Handicapped/disabled access West Gloucester Station is close to Cape Ann Industrial Park, and is the closest station to the village of Magnolia, which can be reached by CATA bus.
31.6 Handicapped/disabled access Gloucester Station is also near CATA buses that reach downtown Gloucester and Magnolia.
35.3 Rockport Handicapped/disabled access Rockport Station is near CATA buses that reach downtown Rockport and Good Harbor Beach.



  1. ^ a b c d "Ridership and Service Statistics". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  2. ^ MBTA. "MBTA Bike Train". Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c T. Zabek (1 January 2010). "Eastern Division". Remnants of the Boston & Maine Railroad. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Hurd, Duane Hamilton (1888). History of Essex County, Massachusetts: with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men, Volume 2, Part 1. J. W. Lewis & Co. 
  5. ^ Coughlin, William (25 August 1989). "Swing-Bridge Operators Drawing Down Curtain". Boston Globe. Retrieved 3 December 2014 – via Proquest Historical Newspapers. (subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ Ackerman, Jerry (28 August 1989). "MBTA MULLS ASKING STATE FOR $6M:". Boston Globe. Retrieved 3 December 2014 – via Proquest Historical Newspapers. (subscription required (help)). 
  7. ^ a b c d LaPointe, Gary. "Railway stations in Essex County". Retrieved 22 August 2011. 

External links[edit]