Lawrence (MBTA station)

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Lawrence Station.jpg
2005-built station platform and garage in 2012
Location 211 Merrimack Street
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°42′7″N 71°9′9″W / 42.70194°N 71.15250°W / 42.70194; -71.15250Coordinates: 42°42′7″N 71°9′9″W / 42.70194°N 71.15250°W / 42.70194; -71.15250
Owned by MVRTA
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 3
Connections Bus transport MVRTA: 33
Parking 400 spaces (5 accessible)[1]
Additional garage spaces used for local parking
Bicycle facilities 18 spaces[1]
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Fare zone 6
Opened 1848, 1979
Closed 1976
Rebuilt 1931, 2005 (relocated)
Passengers (2013) 722 (weekday inbound average)[1]
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
Haverhill Line
toward Haverhill

Lawrence Station is a passenger rail station on the MBTA Commuter Rail Haverhill Line located in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The station is located at the Senator Patricia McGovern Transportation Center on 211 Merrimack Street in the city's Gateway District. The modern station, which opened in 2005, is the latest of seven distinct stations located in Lawrence since 1848.


1879 North Lawrence station in 1915
1931 Lawrence station in 1936
Main platform (left) and temporary platform (right) in 2008
McGovern Transportation Center in 2011

Early stations[edit]

The city of Lawrence was chartered in 1846, several years after the Boston & Maine Railroad opened. In 1848, the original tracks from Ballardvale to North Andover were abandoned and the route was relocated to the modern routing through Lawrence south of the Merrimack River.[2] That year, the B&M set a land speed record for railed vehicles by operating the first authenticated 60 mph (96.6 km/h) train, The Antelope, from Boston to Lawrence, travelling 26 miles in 26 minutes.[3]

The first station in Lawrence, South Lawrence, was a wooden structure built in 1848 just north of Salem Street.[4][5] It was enlarged just two years after construction, then replaced in 1872 by a brick depot between Salem and Andover Streets.[4][6]

In 1849, the Manchester and Lawrence Railroad was built from South Lawrence depot north through Lawrence proper. A new station was located at Essex Street and named North Lawrence; the original wooden building was replaced in 1851 by a permanent building (similar to the depot at Andover) then in 1879 by a Victorian Gothic brick structure.[4] In 1880, the Boston and Lowell Railroad extended the 1848-built Lowell and Lawrence Railroad to a new depot north of the Merrimack River on Canal Street. After the B&M absorbed the B&L in 1887 the depot became redundant, though it saw service until 1918.[4] Passenger service on the Lawrence & Lowell ended in 1926.[7]


In 1931, the Boston & Maine consolidated the existing South and North Lawrence into a single station, Lawrence, located off Parker Street. The tall brick and marble building, technically located at 65 Merrimack Street still stands as part of a strip mall.[4] Regular Manchester & Lawrence service ended in 1953, and after January 18, 1965, service to Boston was reduced to a single daily round trip.[7][8] Service on the Haverhill Line past Reading was cut in June 1976, ending service to Lawrence. However, the MBTA bought BM commuter assets in December 1976, and the 1979 energy crisis prompted a return of service. Service returned on December 17, 1979, including the resumption of the Lawrence stop.[8]

McGovern Transportation Center[edit]

On December 6, 2005, the Senator Patricia McGovern Transportation Center opened with a new Lawrence train station a quarter mile to the east, replacing the former station.[8] The old platform is still extant, slowly rusting away.

Service to the station is at a single full-length high-level platform on the north side of the tracks. After the station was built in 2005, there was also a temporary platform located on the south side of the tracks, but locals were unhappy with having to cross active tracks to reach the garage from the platform.[9] The second platform was removed from service after several years and was demolished when Pan Am built a second freight track through the station around 2010. With freight trains now on their dedicated tracks, the single passenger track is sufficient for current service levels. A similar platform was built in 2014 for use during track work on the line.

Bus connections[edit]

No MBTA Bus routes serve the station. The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority operates several local routes in Lawrence. Most operate out of the Buckley Transportation Center in Lawrence proper, but the 33 Lawrence - North Andover route also stops at McGovern Transportation Center. MVRTA's Boston Commuter Service route stops at McGovern, but not at Buckley.


  1. ^ a b c "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14th ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. 
  2. ^ Karr, Ronald Dale (2010). Lost Railroads of New England (Third ed.). Branch Line Press. p. 86. ISBN 9780942147117. 
  3. ^ George, Charles B. (1887). "A MILE A MINUTE". Forty Years on the Rail (2nd ed.). R.R. Donnelley & Sons. pp. 50–54. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Roy, John H. Jr. (2007). A Field Guide to Southern New England Railroad Depots and Freight Houses. Branch Line Press. pp. 176–177. ISBN 9780942147087. 
  5. ^ Walling & Gray (1871). "Lawrence 1871". Official Topographical Atlas of Massachusetts, 1871. WardMaps LLC. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Walker Lithograph; Publishing Co. (1891). "Lawrence 1891". Topographical Atlas of Massachusetts, 1891. WardMaps LLC. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Karr, Ronald Dale (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England. Branch Line Press. pp. 232, 241–244. ISBN 0942147022. 
  8. ^ a b c Belcher, Jonathan (23 April 2012). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  9. ^ Mason, Edward; Vogler, Mark E. (21 September 2006). "Financial woes hit McGovern Transportation Center". Eagle-Tribune. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 

External links[edit]