Franklin Line

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Norwood Central MBTA station, Norwood MA.jpg
Type Commuter rail
System Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Status Operating
Locale Southeastern Massachusetts
Termini Boston South Station
Stations 16
Daily ridership 12,480[1]
Owner Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Operator(s) Keolis North America
Character Elevated and surface-level
Line length 27.4 miles (44.1 km)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Route map
Amtrak MBTA.svg BSicon SUBWAY.svg South Station
Some service via Fairmount Line
Amtrak MBTA.svg BSicon SUBWAY.svg Back Bay
Greenbush and Old Colony Lines
Framingham/Worcester Line
Uphams Corner
MBTA.svg BSicon SUBWAY.svg Ruggles
Four Corners/Geneva Ave
Talbot Ave
MBTA.svg BSicon SUBWAY.svg
Forest Hills
(Needham Line only)
Morton Street
Needham Line
Blue Hill Avenue (opening 2019)
Neponset River
(closed 1979) Mount Hope
Neponset River
(limited service) Hyde Park
Readville Interim Repair Facility
Dedham Branch
Amtrak NEC &
Providence/Stoughton Line
Dedham Corporate Center
former route to Dedham
Norwood Depot
Norwood Central
Windsor Gardens
Plimptonville (limited service)
Foxboro (special events only)
Franklin Yard
Amtrak NEC &
Providence/Stoughton Line
Franklin/Dean College
Forge Park/495
Blackstone (closed 1966)
Milford Secondary
(freight only)
former route to Hartford,
Waterbury, and New York

The Franklin Line, part of the MBTA Commuter Rail system, runs from Boston's South Station in a southwesterly direction toward Franklin, Massachusetts, utilizing the Northeast Corridor before splitting off onto the namesake Franklin Branch. Most Franklin Line trains connect to the Providence/Stoughton Line at Readville, though some weekday trains use the Dorchester Branch (Fairmount Line) to access South Station. Most weekday trains, and all weekend trains, bypass Hyde Park and Plimptonville, and no train stops at both. Several weekday trains originate at Norwood Central or Walpole. Trains only serve Foxboro from Boston during special events at Gillette Stadium, but regular service is proposed.


Historic Union Station in Walpole
The line was extended to Forge Park/495 station in 1988

The earliest predecessor to the Franklin Line began in 1835 when the Boston and Providence Railroad built a branch from Dedham to Readville, connecting with the main line from Boston to Providence. This was followed, in 1848, by the Norfolk County Railroad, which ran from Dedham to Walpole.[2] After various mergers and acquisitions, the line become part of the New York and New England Railroad until 1898, the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad until 1968, and, ultimately, Penn Central until its 1970 bankruptcy. What is today's Franklin Branch was a portion of the Midland Line of the New Haven's Midland Division, the New Haven's secondary route between Boston and New York; the MBTA's Dorchester Branch and the abandoned segments from Franklin to Willimantic, Connecticut via Blackstone were the remaining components of the Midland Line. In 1910, the passenger route on the Midland Line was a regional inter-city train that continued to New York via the Highland Line segment of the Highland Division between Willimantic and Waterbury, Connecticut, then continuing down the Housatonic Railroad to the New Haven Line.[3] Service was eventually shortened to Waterbury, then to Hartford, Connecticut, before being shortened to Blackstone when the two southern spans of the bridge crossing the Quinebaug River in Putnam, Connecticut washed out during Hurricane Diane in 1955. The bridge was never repaired, and the line was abandoned between Willimantic and Putnam in 1959. Service to Blackstone was discontinued in April 1966 when the MBTA began subsidizing the line; Franklin and beyond were not in the MBTA district, meaning that the towns themselves had to subsidize service, and only Franklin agreed to do so.[4] The easternmost bridge over the Blackstone River in the March 17-19th flooding of the river; the line beyond Franklin was abandoned 3 years later,[5] and is now preserved in full as the Southern New England Trunkline Trail. Between 1973 and 1976, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts bought almost all track assets in Southeastern Massachusetts, including the Franklin Branch, from the Penn Central's bankruptcy trustees.

From the start of MBTA operations, Franklin/Dean College was the terminus of the line. Service was extended to Forge Park/495 Station on June 2, 1988, although the line retained its original name.[4][6] Forge Park/495 is not on the former NY&NE main line to Woonsocket, but instead on the former Milford & Woonsocket Railroad, which last saw passenger service in 1938.[7]

Proposed expansions[edit]

Foxboro station, the terminus of a proposed branch of the Franklin Line

In September 2010, the MBTA completed a study to determine the feasibility of extending regular commuter rail service to Foxboro via the Franklin Line. The study looked at extending some Fairmount Line service to Foxboro, running shuttle trains from Foxboro to Walpole, or a combination of both. No determination has been made as to if or when this service would begin.[8] The MBTA plans to purchase trackage prior to restoring service.[9]

In July 2011, the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization began studying the viability of extending Franklin Line commuter rail service to Hopedale and Milford. The study would update a 1997 MBTA evaluation that concluded costs outweighed the benefits of a possible expansion. Local officials believe increased population and track upgrades to the Grafton and Upton Railroad may increase the viability of an extension.[10] 8 miles of track from Franklin Junction to Milford were leased by the MBTA from Conrail for the extension and to establish the possibility of future service to Milford.[4] A 2004 analysis determined that the extension would cost $70.5 million and attract about 1,800 additional riders per weekday.[11]

Station listing[edit]

Miles[12] City Station Fare zone Opening date Connections and notes
0.0 Boston Handicapped/disabled access South Station 1A 1899 Red Line and all south side Commuter Rail lines
Amtrak Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited, and Northeast Regional
1.2 Handicapped/disabled access Back Bay 1A 1899 Orange Line
splits from Framingham/Worcester Line
2.2 Handicapped/disabled access Ruggles 1A May 4, 1987 MBTA Orange Line
8.4 Handicapped/disabled access Hyde Park 1 circa 1850 temporarily closed November 2, 1979 - May 4, 1987
9.2 Handicapped/disabled access Readville 2 1834 Fairmount Line connects; splits from Providence/Stoughton Line
10.9 Dedham Endicott 2
11.8 Handicapped/disabled access Dedham Corporate Center 2 January 15, 1990
12.5 Westwood Islington 3
14.3 Norwood Handicapped/disabled access Norwood Depot 3
14.8 Handicapped/disabled accessNorwood Central 3 1899
16.6 Windsor Gardens 4
17.7 Walpole Plimptonville 4 circa 1849 Flag stop, one weekday round trip only
19.1 Walpole 4 1883
23.0 Norfolk Handicapped/disabled access Norfolk 5
27.5 Franklin Franklin/Dean College 6
30.3 Handicapped/disabled access Forge Park/495 6 1988


  1. ^ "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14th ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. 
  2. ^ "Dedham Historical Society". Dedham Historical Society. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  3. ^ Phillip A. Blakeslee (April 1953). "A Brief History of Lines West—The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Co.". Catskill Archive. Railroad Enthusiasts, Inc. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Belcher, Jonathan (12 November 2012). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  5. ^ City of Woonsocket. "City of Woonsocket, Rhode Island - Commuter Rail Feasibility Study" (PDF). Greater City Providence. City of Woonsocket. p. 2. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Howe, Peter J. (1988-06-02). "FRANKLIN MBTA OPENS NEW STATION SERVICE SLATED TO BEGIN TODAY; 700 PARKING SPACES PLANNED". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  7. ^ Karr, Ronald Dale (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England. Branch Line Press. pp. 304–306. ISBN 0942147022. 
  8. ^ "Foxborough Commuter Rail Feasibility Analysis". MBTA. Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Franklin rail line could expand to Milford and Hopedale". Milford Daily News. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  11. ^ Central Transportation Planning Staff (January 2004) [May 2003]. "Chapter 5C: Service Expansion" (PDF). 2004 Program for Mass Transportation. Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 

External links[edit]

KML is from Wikidata