Route 128 (MBTA station)

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Route 128
Amtrak inter-city rail station
MBTA commuter rail station
MBTA Commuter Rail train at Route 128 station
Location 50 University Avenue
Westwood, MA
Coordinates 42°12′37″N 71°08′50″W / 42.2102°N 71.1472°W / 42.2102; -71.1472Coordinates: 42°12′37″N 71°08′50″W / 42.2102°N 71.1472°W / 42.2102; -71.1472
Line(s) Amtrak: MBTA:
Platforms 2 side platforms
Tracks 2
Parking 2,589 spaces ($7.00 fee)
44 accessible spaces
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Station code RTE (Amtrak)
Fare zone 2 (MBTA)
Opened Amtrak (station and platforms)
MBTA (parking garage and tracks)[1]
Rebuilt 2000[1]
Passengers (2013) 426,032 (Amtrak yearly)[2]
853 (MBTA weekday inbound average)[3]
Preceding station   BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak   Following station
Acela Express
Northeast Regional
Providence/Stoughton Line

Route 128 (sometimes subtitled Dedham-Westwood or University Park) is a passenger rail station located at the crossing of the Northeast Corridor and Interstate 95/US 1/Route 128 at the eastern tip of Dedham and Westwood, Massachusetts. It is served by most MBTA Commuter Rail Providence/Stoughton Line commuter trains, as well as by all Amtrak Northeast Regional and Acela Express intercity trains. The station area and platforms are owned by Amtrak, but the MBTA owns the parking garage and tracks.[1]

Route 128 station was built in the 1950s as a park-and-ride facility; it has no bus connections and low walkability to Westwood, Dedham, or the nearby towns of Norwood and Canton. Although primarily for daily parking, it is one of only a few MBTA stations that permits overnight parking.[4] A separate entrance to the garage is used for overnight parking, which is intended for Amtrak customers. Unlike most MBTA stations, credit cards and even E-ZPass transponders are accepted for payment of parking fees.

The station has full-length high-level platforms serving both tracks and is fully handicapped accessible.


Early history[edit]

A station named Green Lodge was located on Green Lodge Street (later part of the original Circumferential Highway) from the 1860s to the 1920s. The New Haven Railroad opened Route 128 station in 1953 on the same site, so that intercity rail passengers could park off the (then under construction) Route 128 expressway rather than having to drive into downtown Boston. Built at the direction of New Haven president Frederic C. Dumaine, Jr., Route 128 station was among the first dedicated park and ride stations built in the country.[1] It quickly became a preferred station for suburban commuters, who now represent a majority of station traffic.[5] Green Lodge Street was cut to allow the building of the station, but the abutments still flank the platforms. Some local commuters park on the east side of the station to avoid parking fees, though the MBTA has attempted to curtail this.[6]

Operator changes[edit]

Aerial view of Route 128 station in March 1995 (north to the right). The 1965-built station building and 1971-added pedestrian bridge (moved from Wickford Junction) are visible.

The station originally had two small prefab shelters, manufactured as garages, as waiting rooms.[1] These were replaced in 1965 with brick buildings; a pedestrian overpass originally from Wickford Junction was added in 1971.[1][7][8] The New Haven Railroad folded into Penn Central at the end of 1968; Amtrak took over intercity service on May 1, 1971, while the MBTA (formed in 1964 to subsidize suburban commuter service) gradually took over local trains.[9] The MBTA bought Penn Central's southside lines and stations on January 27, 1973, and began subsidizing service as far as Canton Junction on the Stoughton Branch and Sharon on the Providence Line in June 1973.[9] Conrail took over Penn Central on April 1, 1976; beginning on March 12, 1977, the MBTA contracted the Boston and Maine Railroad to run all southside service.[9] Both Amtrak and the B&M continued to use the 1965-built station facilities for the remainder of the 20th century.

Rebuilt station[edit]

Amtrak waiting room
2000-built platforms and pedestrian bridge

A new, completely rebuilt station opened in 2000, with a $30 million, multi-level 2,000-space parking garage; bicycle racks; staffed ticket windows; a small concession and vending area; and an enclosed, well-lit waiting area.[10][11] The new station included new full-length high-level side platforms, which are designed to be converted to island platforms when third and fourth tracks are eventually added to the station. The new platforms and the elevators connecting them were necessary to meet ADA rules for handicapped accessibility, as well as to allow the Acela Express (which can only board at high-level platforms) to begin running in December 2000.[1] The new parking garage at the station was a source of controversy due to the financing plan that relies heavily on customer revenues, which initially failed to meet expectations.[10]

Elevator and escalator issues[edit]

The elevators and escalators installed in 2000, which are necessary for many passengers to reach the Boston-bound platform, have proved unreliable. In early 2013, the escalator serving the outbound platform failed and was not repaired due to lack of funding for replacement.[12] The inbound platform escalator and one elevator failed in early 2015, prompting Amtrak to initiate replacement of both escalators and both elevators. The replacement process was originally expected to require both elevators to be out of service until the project is complete in early 2016.[13] The elevators were taken out of service on July 20, 2015; Amtrak provided an accessible shuttle service between both platforms and the station building.[14] The elevators returned to service on September 1, 2015, though the escalators remain out of service.[15]

Proposed Orange Line extension[edit]

As a major park-and-ride ten miles from downtown Boston, Route 128 station is a candidate for rapid transit service rather than conventional low-frequency commuter rail service. The 1966 Program for Mass Transportation recommended a bifurcated Orange Line, with one branch to West Roxbury or Hersey and another to either Readville or Route 128 via Hyde Park.[16] Various reports over the next two decades continued to recommend various combinations of the extensions; however, due to cost, the 1987 relocation of the Orange Line to the Southwest Corridor was terminated at Forest Hills.[17] Hyde Park, Readville, and the Needham Line instead received limited upgrades like handicapped accessible platforms.

The extension is still periodically discussed. The 2004 Program for Mass Transportation listed an extension to Route 128 with intermediate stops at Mount Hope, Hyde Park, and Readville at a cost of $342.8 million. The extension was listed as low priority due to environmental issues with crossing the wetlands south of Readville, and because the corridor already has commuter rail service.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Westwood - Route 128 Station, MA (RTE)". Great American Stations. Amtrak. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2013, Commonwealth of Massachusetts" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14 ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  4. ^ "Overnight Parking". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Humphrey, Thomas J. and Clark, Norton D. (1985). Boston's Commuter Rail: The First 150 Years. Boston Street Railway Association. p. 31. ISBN 9780685412947. 
  6. ^ "T CHANGES ITS PLAN FOR ROUTE 128 STATION". Boston Globe. 14 March 2000 – via Highbeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  7. ^ Humphrey, Thomas J. and Clark, Norton D. (1986). Boston's Commuter Rail: Second Section. Boston Street Railway Association. p. 54. 
  8. ^ Haskel, Donald (September 1966). "NH 2059 New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad EMD FL9 at Kingston, Rhode Island". RailPictures.Net. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c Belcher, Jonathan (27 June 2015). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district 1964-2015" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Palmer Jr., Thomas C. (January 13, 2001). "T Garage's Unpopularity Spurs Bond Watch". Boston Globe. 
  11. ^ Middleton, William D. (August 1, 2001). "Bean town boom; projects planned by Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority". Railway Age. 
  12. ^ Powers, Martine (2 November 2015). "Going up? For one escalator, not anytime soon". Boston Globe. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Dungca, Nicole (1 May 2015). "Amtrak taking steps to fix Route 128 Station in Westwood". Boston Globe. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Commuter Rail Service Alerts: Providence/Stoughton Line". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 21 July 2015. Archived from the original on 28 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "Commuter Rail Service Alerts: Providence/Stoughton Line". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 1 September 2015. Archived from the original on 2 October 2015. 
  16. ^ MBTA planning staff (3 May 1966). "A Comprehensive Development Program for Public Transportation in the Massachusetts Bay Area: 1966". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. p. V-9. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  17. ^ Central Transportation Planning Staff (15 November 1993). "The Transportation Plan for the Boston Region - Volume 2". National Transportation Library. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  18. ^ Central Transportation Planning Staff (January 2004) [May 2003]. "Chapter 5C: Service Expansion" (PDF). 2004 Program for Mass Transportation. Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization. p. 5C-83. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 

External links[edit]