River Works (MBTA station)
Inbound platform at River Works in April 2015
|Location||1000 Western Avenue
|Platforms||2 side platforms|
|Opened||September 9, 1965|
|Previous names||G.E. Works (until ca. 1980)|
|Passengers (2013)||56 (daily inbound average)|
River Works (sometimes written Riverworks) is a passenger rail station on the MBTA Commuter Rail Newburyport/Rockport Line, located in West Lynn, Massachusetts. The station is only open to General Electric Aviation employees who work at the River Works plant. Trains only stop at River Works on weekdays. It is served by inbound trains in the morning and outbound trains in the evening for commuting plant workers, as well as trains in the opposite directions for reverse commuting workers.
River Works station is proposed to be opened to the public, made handicapped-accessible, and renamed to Lynnport as part of plans for a development on adjacent land. As of February 2017[update], the developer had reached a tentative agreement with MassDOT, but details of the upgrades and opening were still under negotiation.
The station opened as G.E. Works on September 9, 1965 to serve workers of the plant, which had opened early in the century and been substantially expanded during World War II. The name was changed to River Works in the late 1970s. It did not appear on maps until the MBTA bought the northside commuter lines in 1976, and was listed only as a footnote on public timetables until January 1989.
River Works station has two bare concrete platforms with bus shelters to serve the line's two tracks; it is not handicapped accessible. The River Works plant formerly shipped large products like electrical transformers by rail; the two-track main line was flanked with running tracks which connected sidings serving the plant. The platforms are located on the outside of these former tracks; making the station accessible would require building platforms which would preclude future freight rail access.
The land east of the station was formerly home to General Electric's Gear Plant, which closed in 2011. Four years prior to the closure, the city upzoned the 77-acre (31 ha) site to allow buildings up to 20 stories high in hopes of attracting new commercial development. In July 2014, a developer reached an agreement with GE to buy 65.5 acres (26.5 ha) of the site. The developer, Charles Patsios, indicated that he planned to leave an easement for public access to the station.
Patsios bought the site in October 2014 and opened discussions with MBTA officials about opening River Works station for public use. GE granted the required easement after Patsios purchased the property. He intended to finalize plans for the station—which he planned to rename as Lynnport—by the end of 2015, pending the resolution of several potential blockers. To open the station to the public, it would have to be made handicapped accessible, with high-level platforms constructed and the tracks relocated. The state is hesitant to pay for such upgrades without proven ridership. Additionally, GE would require security considerations before approving the public opening. The station was in 2016 proposed to be opened only to residents of the planned development, rather than to the public at large. However, under a tentative agreement that the developer reached with MassDOT in February 2017, the rebuilt station would be open to all riders. As of February 2017[update], a full and detailed agreement with MassDOT, as well as environmental permitting for the development project, are still under way.
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- Laidler, John (13 July 2014). "Developer considers GE land for waterfront project". Boston Globe. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Jourgensen, Thor (24 April 2015). "GE gearing up for the T". Daily Item. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Healy, Beth (10 March 2016). "This commuter rail station is not for you (unless you work for GE)". Boston Globe. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- Jourgensen, Thor (17 September 2015). "Long track ahead for Lynn T stop". Daily Item. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Adams, Steve (November 20, 2016). "Next Chapter In Life Of Lynn GE Property Emerges". Banker and Tradesman. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
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