Providence/Stoughton Line

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An outbound Providence/Stoughton Line train at Route 128 station
System MBTA Commuter Rail
Status Operating
Locale Southeastern Massachusetts
Rhode Island
Termini Boston South Station
Main line: Wickford Junction
Stoughton Branch: Stoughton
Stations 15
Daily ridership

Providence Line: 19,634 (2014 weekday boardings)[1]

Stoughton Line: 6,831 (2014 weekday boardings)
Owner MBTA (within Massachusetts)
Amtrak (within Rhode Island)
Operator(s) Keolis North America
Character Elevated and surface-level
Line length 62.9 miles (South Station to Wickford Junction)
4 miles (Stoughton branch)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 25kV 60Hz AC (only used by Amtrak trains)
Route map

0.0 mi
0 km
South Station
AmtrakRed Line (MBTA)Silver Line (MBTA)
1.2 mi
1.9 km
Back Bay
AmtrakOrange Line (MBTA)
Some former service via
Fairmount Line (ended 2004)
Morton Street
2.2 mi
3.5 km
Orange Line (MBTA)
5.0 mi
8 km
Forest Hills
(Needham Line only)
Orange Line (MBTA)
6.1 mi
9.8 km
Mount Hope
closed 1979
8.4 mi
13.5 km
Hyde Park
9.5 mi
15.3 km
(Franklin and Fairmount Lines only)
closed 1967
11.4 mi
18.3 km
Route 128
14.8 mi
23.8 km
Canton Junction
15.6 mi
25.1 km
Canton Center
18.9 mi
30.4 km
Stoughton Yard
17.9 mi
28.8 km
22.4 mi
36 km
East Foxboro
closed 1977
special events only
24.7 mi
39.8 km
31.8 mi
51.2 km
Attleboro Yard (closed 2006)
36.8 mi
59.2 km
South Attleboro
Boston Surface Railroad (P&W)
(opening 2019)
39.0 mi
62.8 km
Pawtucket-Central Falls
closed 1981
39.5 mi
63.6 km
Pawtucket/Central Falls
Pawtucket Yard
43.6 mi
70.2 km
51.9 mi
83.5 km
T. F. Green Airport
T.F. Green Airport
62.9 mi
101.2 km
Wickford Junction
↓ proposed extension
70.6 mi
113.6 km
Kingston Amtrak
Amtrak NEC continues

The Providence/Stoughton Line is a line of the MBTA Commuter Rail system running southwest from Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The main line was originally built by the Boston and Providence Railroad, and now carries commuter trains between South Station in Boston and Wickford Junction station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The Stoughton Branch, built as the Stoughton Branch Railroad, splits at Canton Junction and runs for two more stations to Stoughton station in Stoughton, Massachusetts.

An extension of the Providence section of the line to T. F. Green Airport and Wickford Junction opened in stages in 2010 and 2012, making the Providence/Stoughton Line the longest of the MBTA's commuter rail lines (surpassing the Fitchburg Line), while an extension of the Stoughton Branch to New Bedford and Fall River is under construction.

All stations are handicapped accessible with short or full-length high level platforms. Newer stations like T.F. Green Airport, and Amtrak stations like Providence, usually have full-length high level platforms; older stations have mostly been retrofitted with high-level platforms one car length long.


The Stoughton station dates to 1888

On December 31, 1968, the recently formed Penn Central bought the failing New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. The MBTA bought the section of the Providence–Boston line in Massachusetts, as well as many other lines including the Stoughton Branch, from Penn Central on January 27, 1973. On April 1, 1976 Conrail took over Penn Central and the commuter rail equipment was sold to the MBTA, though operation continued to be done by Conrail. Full subsidies by the MBTA for the Providence and Stoughton lines began on September 28, 1976, before which the Federal government helped. On March 31, 1977, the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority and Rhode Island Department of Transportation began to subsidize service beyond the MBTA district, and Stoughton began to pay to keep its station open, that cost later going to the Brockton Area Transit Authority.

On November 3, 1979, the line was closed north of Readville for long-term reconstruction as part of the Southwest Corridor project. All trains began using what is now the Fairmount Line, and special shuttle trains connected South Station to Back Bay. The new line, rebuilt below grade with space for three tracks (the old one had been above grade with room for four tracks), opened on October 5, 1987.[2] The Orange Line shares the corridor between Back Bay and Forest Hills.

In 1990, a northbound commuter train was involved in a collision with a northbound Night Owl train. The accident, which occurred to the west of Back Bay station, injured over four hundred people, although there were no fatalities.[3]

On February 20, 1981, the MBTA stopped serving Rhode Island, as funding from the state had ended. Rush-hour service was restored on February 1, 1988. On June 20, 1990, a new stop opened in South Attleboro and most trains were extended to the station; regular Sunday service returned in 1992.[2] Some off-peak weekday trains were extended to Providence starting on December 11, 2000. Weekend service to Providence resumed on July 29, 2006.


Map of South County Commuter Rail project, showing the extension to T.F. Green Airport and Wickford Junction

As part of the South County Commuter Rail initiative, a 20-mile extension past Providence to T. F. Green Airport and Wickford Junction in Rhode Island is now fully open. The T. F. Green Airport part of the extension opened in December 2010, with Wickford Junction service beginning in April 2012.[4]

A further 24-mile extension is under consideration by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Possible stops include Cranston and East Greenwich, plus existing Amtrak stations in Kingston and Westerly and a possible revival of the Pawtucket/Central Falls station. Rhode Island eventually plans to have its own statewide commuter service along the Northeast Corridor that would connect with MBTA service and an extension of Shore Line East.[5] This would be the first commuter service to Westerly since the last state-sponsored train was run in December 1979.[2] A passing siding (currently under construction) and new platforms (planned) at Kingston may enable extension of some trains there in the near term.[6]

The Stoughton branch is currently being extended to Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford under a Proposed project called South Coast Rail, under which it would operate as a separate line rather than a branch of the Providence Line. Track has been bought from CSX, but construction has not yet begun on stations.

Ownership and financing[edit]

The MBTA owns the track from Boston to the Rhode Island border. Track in Rhode Island is owned by Amtrak. The entire line is part of the Northeast Corridor.

As part of the 1988[7] Pilgrim Partnership Agreement, Rhode Island provides capital funding (including some of its federal formula funds) for MBTA expansion in the state. Massachusetts (through the MBTA) provides the operating subsidy for MBTA Commuter Rail service in return.[8] Rhode Island also pays Amtrak to allow the MBTA to use its tracks.[9]

Station listing[edit]

Shore Line (Northeast Corridor)[edit]

Commuter rail platform at Ruggles station
Platforms and station building at Mansfield
Crumbling station at Pawtucket/Central Falls, last used in 1981
A commuter train at Providence in 2007
State Amtrak Milepost[10] MBTA Milepost Zone fare City Station Opening date Connections and notes
MA 228.7 0 1A Boston Handicapped/disabled access South Station 1899 Silver Line service to Logan Airport, Red Line, and all south side Commuter Rail lines
Amtrak Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited, and Northeast Regional
227.6 1.2 1A Handicapped/disabled access Back Bay 1987 (modern station) Orange Line
splits from Framingham/Worcester Line
Amtrak Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited, and Northeast Regional
original line continued northeast from here to a terminal at Park Square
226.5 2.2 1A Handicapped/disabled access Ruggles October 5, 1987 Orange Line
223.7 5.0 Handicapped/disabled access Forest Hills Orange Line; only served by Needham Line trains
Needham Line (old Dedham Branch) splits
222.2 6.5 Mount Hope closed November 2, 1979
220.3 8.4 1 Handicapped/disabled access Hyde Park October 5, 1987 temporarily closed November 2, 1979
219.2 9.5 2 Handicapped/disabled access Readville only served by trains using the Fairmount Line
Franklin Line splits and Fairmount Line joins (both part of the Midland Railroad (NYNH&H))
split with Dedham Branch
217.3 11.4 2 Westwood Handicapped/disabled access Route 128 Amtrak Acela Express and Northeast Regional
originally Green Lodge
213.9 14.8 3 Canton Handicapped/disabled access Canton Junction split with Stoughton Branch
210.8 17.9 4 Sharon Handicapped/disabled access Sharon
205.7 23.0 Foxborough East Foxboro closed November 1977
204.0 24.7 6 Mansfield Handicapped/disabled access Mansfield junction with Boston, Clinton, Fitchburg and New Bedford Railroad (NYNH&H), now the line to Foxboro (special events)
196.9 31.8 7 Attleboro Handicapped/disabled access Attleboro junction with Attleborough Branch and Boston, Clinton, Fitchburg and New Bedford Railroad Attleborough Branch (NYNH&H)
191.9 36.8 7 Handicapped/disabled access South Attleboro June 20, 1990[2]
RI 188.5 39.5 Pawtucket Pawtucket-Central Falls Closed February 19, 1981; currently considered for reopening
185.1 43.6 8 Providence Handicapped/disabled access Providence February 1, 1988[2] Amtrak Acela Express and Northeast Regional
176.8 51.9 9 Warwick Handicapped/disabled access T.F. Green Airport December 6, 2010[2]
165.8[11] 62.9 10 North Kingstown Handicapped/disabled access Wickford Junction April 23, 2012[4]

Stoughton Branch[edit]

State Milepost[10] City Station Opening date Connections and notes
MA 15.0 (0.0)
(213.9 on NEC)
Canton Handicapped/disabled access Canton Junction splits from Northeast Corridor
15.6 (0.6) Handicapped/disabled access Canton Center
18.9 (3.9) Stoughton Handicapped/disabled access Stoughton 1888 continued as Easton Branch


  1. ^ "2014 Bluebook 14th Edition" (PDF). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Belcher, Jonathan (20 July 2011). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA District" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Railroad Accident Report RAR-92-01: Derailment and Collision of Amtrak Passenger Train 66 with MBTA Commuter Train 906 at Back Bay Station, Boston, Massachusetts, December 12, 1990" (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board, Washington, DC. 25 February 1992.
  4. ^ a b Samantha, Turner (4 November 2010). "Commuter Rail Station To Open In 2012". North Kingston Patch. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  5. ^ Edwards and Kelcey, Inc (July 2001). "South County Commuter Rail Service: Operations Plan" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  6. ^ Barrett, Chris (31 December 2009). "Kingston MBTA stop project proposed". Providence Business News. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  7. ^ "COMMUTER RAIL SERVICE TO WARWICK'S T.F. GREEN STATION UNDERWAY". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  8. ^ "South County Commuter Rail". Federal Transit Administration. 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  9. ^ Bierman, Noah (10 September 2009). "Vote set on T link to R.I. airport". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  10. ^ a b Held, Patrick R. (2010). "Massachusetts Bay Colony Railroad Track Charts" (PDF). Johns Hopkins Association for Computing Machinery. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  11. ^ "South County Commuter Rail Environmental Assessment" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. February 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012.

External links[edit]

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