Middleborough/Lakeville (MBTA station)
The platform at Middleborough/Lakeville, looking outbound
|Location||125 Commercial Drive
|Owned by||Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority|
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Parking||853 spaces ($4.00 fee)
14 accessible spaces
|Bicycle facilities||8 spaces|
|Opened||September 29, 1997|
|Passengers (2013)||886 (weekday inbound average)|
Middleborough/Lakeville is an MBTA Commuter Rail station in Lakeville, Massachusetts, serving as the terminus of the Middleborough/Lakeville Line. The current station reopened along with the rest of the Old Colony Lines on September 29, 1997. Middleborough/Lakeville has a single full-length high-level platform serving the line's single track.
An older station was located in downtown Middleborough, serving regular passenger service until 1959 and Cape Cod & Hyannis Railroad service from 1984 to 1988. The modern station is located in Lakeville, about a mile south of Middleborough Center, on the former Cape Cod Division of the Old Colony Railroad.
Middleborough/Lakeville is the normal terminus of the eponymous Middleborough/Lakeville Line, the southern branch of the MBTA's Old Colony Lines. All trains on the line run to and from Middleborough; there is currently no short turn service. A layover yard is located slightly north of the station on a freight-only branch to Taunton.
Middleborough has 912 riders boarding on an average weekday - the highest total on the line, and the second highest (behind Kingston/Route 3) on the Old Colony division. Located just off Interstate 495, the station has 769 parking spaces to handle commuters from areas beyond the end of the line. With rides times to Boston approximately one hour, Middleborough is the station of choice for many long-distance commuters from Cape Cod and the South Coast (Massachusetts) region. This high ridership has spurred calls for restored service south of Middleborough.
The CapeFLYER service to Hyannis stops at Middleborough/Lakeville on summer weekends.
Old Colony Railroad
The Fall River Railroad opened from South Braintree to Middleborough in mid-1846, and the full length to Fall River in December of that year. By the end of the century, Middleborough functioned as a major rail hub for southeastern Massachusetts under the Old Colony Railroad, with station facilities and a rail yard located off Station Street in downtown Middleborough. The Plymouth & Middleborough branched off north of the station, while the original Fall River routing and the Taunton and Middleborough Branch diverged from the Cape Main Line just south of the station.
By 1885 schedules were arranged to allow commuting from Middleborough, and a large Tudor-style station was built in 1887. Two other stations were located in Middleborough on the Cape Main Line south of downtown: Rock (also known as Rock Meeting House) at Miller Street in Rock Village, and South Middleboro at Spruce Street. The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad took control of the Old Colony in 1893.
During the middle 20th century, Middleborough's importance declined. Passenger service on the lightly used branch to Plymouth was discontinued in 1927, and the original Fall River line between Middleborough and Myricks four years later. The branch to Taunton saw regular passenger service until 1958. On June 30, 1959, the New Haven Railroad abandoned passenger service on its entire Old Colony division, including Middleborough commuter service and through trains to Cape Cod. The bridge over the Neponset River burned soon afterwards, preventing any further service from Boston to the Cape stopping at Middleborough. Limited summer-only service from New York from 1906 to 1964, and from Boston (via Stoughton) in 1961, ran over the branch from Taunton through Middleborough without stopping.
Restoration of service was proposed intermittently through the 1960s and 1970s. On October 15, 1979, a special train ran from Braintree to Middleborough to publicize the state's plans for restored service. On June 30, 1984, the Cape Cod & Hyannis Railroad ran the first scheduled passenger trains from Falmouth and Hyannis to Braintree since 1959, with intermediate stops including the old Middleborough depot. From 1986 to 1996, Amtrak's Cape Codder ran through Middleborough and turned south towards Cape Cod, but like the 1960s trains it did not stop in Middleborough due to the station location. In 1995, the rotting 1887 depot was demolished. The freight house, built a decade or two later, stands extant off Elm Street but is currently unused.
As environmental mitigation for the Big Dig, the MBTA agreed to undertake several major transit projects, including the restoration of service on the Old Colony Lines. The downtown location offered little space for parking, so Middleborough/Lakeville station was built a mile south, in a field just over the Lakeville border. The new station, and the rest of the Middleborough/Lakeville and Plymouth/Kingston lines, opened on September 29, 1997. A layover facility for the line was built in a sand pit on the Middleborough Secondary just west of the wye leading to Taunton.
The CapeFLYER, the first regularly scheduled passenger service from Boston to Cape Cod via the Old Colony mainline since 1959, made its first run on May 24, 2013. All CapeFLYER trains, which run Fridays through Sundays during the summer, stop at Middleborough. Should regular commuter service be extended past Middleborough to Wareham and Buzzards Bay, an infill stop may be built near the former Rock Village station site.
The first phase of the South Coast Rail project is proposed to be routed through Middleborough in 2022. It would not serve the existing station; a new station in downtown Middleborough may be constructed. The existing station would be abandoned or downgraded to shuttle service, which has brought criticism from Middleborough and Lakeville officials.
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- Pillsbury, Fred (June 30, 1984). "Passenger train service to Cape Cod begins anew: Hyannis, Falmouth--All aboard!". Boston Globe. p. 1 – via ProQuest Historical Newspapers. (Subscription required (. ))
- Cape Cod & Hyannis Railroad Spring Schedule, Cape Cod and Hyannis Railroad, May 27, 1988 – via Wikimedia Commons
- "Notice of Project Change" (PDF). Massachusetts Department of Transportation. March 15, 2017.
- Laidler, John (June 16, 2017). "Sharp differences over latest plan for South Coast Rail". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
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