Assembly station

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Inbound Orange Line train at Assembly station, 2 September 2014.JPG
A train at Assembly on opening day (September 2, 2014)
Location499 Foley Street, Somerville, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°23′32.48″N 71°4′38.40″W / 42.3923556°N 71.0773333°W / 42.3923556; -71.0773333Coordinates: 42°23′32.48″N 71°4′38.40″W / 42.3923556°N 71.0773333°W / 42.3923556; -71.0773333
Owned byMassachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Line(s)Haymarket North Extension
Platforms1 island platform
Tracks3 (two station tracks and one unused express track)
ParkingNo MBTA parking; Assembly Square parking is adjacent
Bicycle facilitiesRacks provided
Disabled accessYes
OpenedSeptember 2, 2014[1]
Passengers (FY2015)1,864 daily boardings[2]
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
toward Forest Hills
Orange Line
toward Oak Grove

Assembly (originally Assembly Square in some planning documents) is a rapid transit station in Somerville, Massachusetts. It serves the MBTA's Orange Line.[3] It is an infill station, located on a section of the Orange Line that has been active since 1975. The station, which opened on September 2, 2014, was the first new station on the MBTA subway system since 1987.[1][4]

Assembly station is meant to provide convenient access to Assembly Square - a major retail and residential development located on the site of a former Ford assembly plant - and the adjacent Assembly Square Marketplace. The Assembly Square project is estimated to generate 45,000 new vehicle trips each day, and the station was intended to reduce the number that use private automobiles by diverting travelers to mass transit. Ridership is projected to reach 5,000 riders per day in 2030; it averaged 1,864 during its first year.[5][2]

Station layout[edit]

Aerial view of station site in September 2012

Assembly station is in the rear of the Assembly Square development, on the existing Orange Line tracks near the Mystic River.

The station consists of a single island platform 410 feet (120 m) long, to handle up to 6 railcars on each side.[5] Unlike Community College, Sullivan, and Wellington, Assembly does not have a second island platform to serve the (currently unused) third track, which was intended to be an express track. The station has two headhouses, one on each end of the platform. Two footbridges, one from each headhouse, cross over the inbound track and connect to parking on G Street.[6] The station is fully accessible and includes bicycle storage facilities.

Several public art elements are incorporated into the station. These include artistic benches and a metal panel mosaic on the station façade (both designed by Artists for Humanity) and MBTA-designed panels about the site's history.[3]

Adding a commuter rail station at Assembly Square was listed as a possibility in 2012 as an interim air quality mitigation measure in response to delays building the Green Line Extension[7] However, such a station could not be completed by 2015, and the project was not supported by MassDOT.[7] The station would have required building separate platforms for the Haverhill Line and the Newburyport/Rockport Line, which split near the station site.

History and financing[edit]

Construction work in January 2013
Platform construction in December 2013
Headhouse construction in January 2014

Construction was estimated to cost up to $57 million, of which $22 million (plus an optional $3.5 million extra) was from the state's Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The remaining cost was divided between federal funding including the FTA Section 5309 New Starts program ($16 million) and the developer of Assembly Square ($15 million), Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT).[8]

The area around the station formerly hosted a Ford automobile assembly plant, which used the adjacent Haverhill Line for rail access. Although the plant is long gone, the Assembly Square name is a reference to the site's history.

On February 8, 2011, the MBTA board unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between the MBTA and FRIT, which defined the funding sources for the project.[9] The memorandum was a "critical milestone," according to a FRIT executive.[10] Somerville approved the project on May 2, 2011, and two days later the MBTA opened bidding for construction,[11] which was planned to start at the end of 2011.[10]

On October 5, 2011, the MBTA announced the award of a $29,229,184 construction contract to S&R Construction Co., Inc., with construction beginning later that fall.[12] The work required 18 weekend closures of the Orange Line from Sullivan to Oak Grove.[8] The first weekend closures began in June 2012 and continued past the station opening into late 2014.[13] The closures were extended to five nights per week for the second half of 2012, and continued sporadically into 2013 and 2014.[14]

For construction, the MBTA shifted outbound trains to the normally unused express track and inbound trains to the outbound track, to give construction crews full access to the site.[15] In January 2013, the MBTA began constructing concrete pillars to support the platform and headhouses; elevator shaft construction began in the spring.[15] Construction of the headhouse frames began in June 2013, and the platform segments were laid in July. The headhouses were completed in June 2014, with work remaining on other parts of the station.[16]

Inbound trains switched back to the normal inbound track on July 1, 2014; outbound trains began using the normal outbound track on July 21.[17] The station opened to passengers on September 2, 2014, although some final construction work lasted until November.[1] On the first day of operations, the station platform flooded from a rainstorm.[18]

Partners Healthcare, which is building its headquarters next to the south end of the station, is funding the completion of the south headhouse as a full-time entrance and exit. It will open in 2016.

Bus connections[edit]

Sullivan Square to the south and Wellington to the north are both major MBTA Bus terminals, so Assembly was not designed as a bus transfer station. No routes stop directly at the station; two routes run on Grand Union Boulevard 500 feet (150 m) to the west:


  1. ^ a b c Hofherr, Justine (27 August 2014). "Somerville's New Assembly Square MBTA Station to Open Next Week". Boston Globe. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b "MBTA State of the Service: Orange Line Heavy Rail" (PDF). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 6 June 2016. p. 26.
  3. ^ a b "Assembly Square Public Meeting" (PDF). MassDOT. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  4. ^ "Assembly Square MBTA Station Opening Sept. 2". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
  5. ^ a b "Assembly Square Station Final Design" (PDF). Federal Transit Administration. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  6. ^ MassDOT (12 January 2010). "Assembly Square Presentation" (PDF). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  7. ^ a b Central Transportation Planning Staff (23 January 2012). "Green Line Extension SIP Mitigation Inventory" (PDF). Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  8. ^ a b Moskowitz, Eric (6 October 2011). "MBTA board OK's millions for stations". Boston Globe. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  9. ^ Taylor, Denise (9 February 2011). "MBTA Approves Assembly Sq. T-Stop Agreement". Somerville Patch. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  10. ^ a b Douglas, Craig M. (8 February 2011). "Assembly Square advances on key MBTA vote". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  11. ^ Douglas, Craig M. (4 May 2011). "MBTA opens bidding for Assembly Square station". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  12. ^ Coughlin, Kerri (25 October 2011). "Construction on Assembly Square T stop to begin later this fall". Tufts Daily. Archived from the original on 4 December 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  13. ^ Orchard, Chris (24 May 2012). "Bus Diversions on Orange Line to Begin in June". Somerville Patch. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  14. ^ Orchard, Chris (27 June 2012). "Buses Replace Evening Northbound Orange Line Trains Beginning July 8". South End Patch. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  15. ^ a b "Crucial Progress Continues on Assembly Station Project". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  16. ^ Boroyan, Nate (18 June 2014). "MBTA Assembly Station to Open Later This Summer". BostInno. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Assembly Station". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. July 2014. Archived from the original on 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  18. ^ Vaccaro, Adam (3 September 2014). "And Here's the First Big Complaint About the New Orange Line Station". Boston Globe. Retrieved 3 September 2014.

External links[edit]