Newburyport/Rockport Line

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Eastern Route train.jpg
An outbound train crosses the Mystic River
Type Commuter Rail
Status Operational
Locale Greater Boston
Termini North Station
Newburyport or Rockport
Stations 12 (Newburyport Line)
14 (Rockport Line)
(7 serve both lines)
Services 2
Daily ridership

Newburyport Line: 9,387 Daily Weekday(2014)
2,418 Saturday(2014)
2,212 Sunday (2014) [1]
Rockport Line: 6,867 (2014) Daily Weekday
3,687 Saturday (2014)

2,974 Sunday (2014) [1]
Owner Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Operator(s) Keolis North America
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)
New Hampshire
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
Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility
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.

Movable bridges and replacements[edit]

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, and eliminated the 5 miles per hour (8.0 km/h) speed restriction on the old bridge.[5][6]

Two other bridges are in planning for major modification. The Beverly Drawbridge spanning the Danvers River will undergo a multi-year reconstruction process. The abutments of the approach spans will be repaired, followed by a 21-day service shutdown in April 2017 for the complete replacement of the swing bridge section.[7]

The Gloucester Drawbridge over the Annisquam River consists of a steel drawbridge and western approach span with a timber trestle for the eastern approach. It was built in 1911, modified in 1932, and substantially repaired in 1984-85. From 2016 to 2020 it will be completely replaced with a modern box beam bridge on steel piles.[8]

Station listing[edit]

State Milepost[1] City Station Connections and notes
MA 0.0 Boston Handicapped/disabled access North Station Downeaster
MBTA Bus: 4
MBTA Commuter Rail: Fitchburg Line, Lowell Line, Haverhill Line
MBTA Subway: Orange Line, Green Line
4.6 Chelsea Chelsea MBTA Bus: 112, 114
Station will be moved and made accessible in 2016.
9.9 Lynn River Works No weekend service; for River Works employees only
11.5 Handicapped/disabled access Central Square - Lynn MBTA Bus: 426, 426W, 429, 431, 435, 436, 439, 441, 442, 455, 456, 459
12.8 Swampscott Handicapped/disabled access Swampscott MBTA Bus: 441, 442, 455, 459
16.8 Salem Handicapped/disabled access Salem MBTA Bus: 450, 450W, 451, 455, 456, 459, 465
18.3 Beverly Handicapped/disabled access Beverly Depot CATA: Beverly Shuttle
MBTA Bus: 451

Newburyport Branch[edit]

State Milepost[1] City Station Connections and notes
MA 20.8 Beverly Handicapped/disabled access North Beverly MBTA Bus: 451
22.7 Hamilton Handicapped/disabled access Hamilton/Wenham
27.6 Ipswich Handicapped/disabled access Ipswich CATA: Purple Line (seasonal)
31.2 Rowley Handicapped/disabled access Rowley
36.2 Newburyport Handicapped/disabled access Newburyport MVRTA: 54

Rockport Branch[edit]

State Milepost[1] City Station Connections and notes
MA 19.8 Beverly Handicapped/disabled access Montserrat
22.2 Prides Crossing
22.9 Handicapped/disabled access Beverly Farms
25.4 Manchester Handicapped/disabled access Manchester
29.6 Gloucester Handicapped/disabled access West Gloucester CATA: Purple Line
30.6 Harbor Closed station; was open from 1977 to 1985
31.6 Handicapped/disabled access Gloucester CATA: Red Line, Orange Line, Yellow Line, Green Line, Blue Line, Purple Line
35.3 Rockport Handicapped/disabled access Rockport CATA: Red Line, Green Line, Blue Line



  1. ^ a b c d e "Ridership and Service Statistics". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. 
  2. ^ MBTA. "MBTA Bike Train" (PDF). 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. ^ Jessen, Klark (24 March 2015). "Beverly: Drawbridge Project Community Meeting April 1" (Press release). Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Gloucester Drawbridge Replacement". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 

External links[edit]