West Station (MBTA)
The station will be located in the former Beacon Park Yard
|Location||Ashford Street, Boston, Massachusetts|
|Platforms||2 island platforms|
West Station is a planned station on the MBTA Commuter Rail Framingham/Worcester Line, to be located in the former Beacon Park Yard in Allston, Massachusetts. It was initially proposed as part of a project to straighten the Massachusetts Turnpike through the yard, allowing much of the land to be redeveloped. Initially to serve solely as a conventional commuter rail station, West Station is designed to eventually serve high-frequency diesel multiple unit service on the inner Worcester Line and on the Grand Junction Railroad.
By July 2016, the state planned to file a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the project in 2017 and hoped to break ground in 2019. It was then estimated to cost $25 million, to be split between Harvard University (which owns the surrounding land), the state, and a third party (intended to be Boston University pending negotiations). In December 2017, the state announced that the station cost had increased to $95 million, and that it would not open until 2040. In January 2018, Harvard increased its pledge to $50 million, with an additional $8 million incentive to build an interim station.
The Boston & Albany Railroad originally had a number of stations in the inner ring of suburbs, including stations at Allston (Cambridge Street) and Cottage Farms (Commonwealth Avenue). No station was built near the split with the Grand Junction Railroad as the Grand Junction did not carry passenger service. A large freight yard, Beacon Park Yard, was ultimately built just west of the split. All stations east of Newtonville were closed around 1962 when much of the main line was reduced from 4 to 2 tracks during the building of the Massachusetts Turnpike. The station closures left Allston and Brighton lacking commuter rail service.
In 1998, a new station in Allston-Brighton began to be considered as part of the Urban Ring planning process. In 2007, the City of Boston allocated $500,000 in funding for the Allston Multimodal Station Study. The study analyzed both commuter rail and DMU local service along the corridor, with potential stops at Faneuil, Market Street, Everett Street, Cambridge Street, West (Ashford Street), and Commonwealth Avenue. The final recommendation, for a commuter rail station at Everett Street with DMU stops added later at the other locations, sparked local controversy but was mostly well received.
In 2009 and 2010, the state negotiated a major agreement with CSX Transportation that involved the purchase of several rail lines, including purchasing the line between Framingham and Worcester. The agreement also included CSX moving its intermodal freight operations from Beacon Park Yard to a new yard in Worcester. The abandonment of Beacon Park Yard allows for an increase in MBTA service on the Framingham/Worcester Line; additionally, the elimination of the single-track bottleneck through the yard opened the possibility for a station to be built in Allston (possibly in conjunction with the Urban Ring project) while still allowing passing tracks. However, with no funding source available, construction of a station was not pursued.
In October 2013, MassDOT announced a $260 million plan to straighten the Mass Pike through Beacon Park Yard, replacing the existing toll booths with high-speed all-electronic tolling and allowing Harvard University and others to develop land currently cordoned off by the highway and its interchange ramps. The initial plans included the possibility of an 8 or 9-track commuter rail layover yard next to the Worcester main.
In January 2014, MassDOT released its ten-year plan, which included a six-line DMU network called the Indigo Line proposed to be implemented by 2024. This included additional service on the Fairmount Line, the Newburyport/Rockport Line (to Lynn), the Lowell Line (to Anderson RTC), and the Worcester Line (to Riverside), as well as new service from Back Bay to the BCEC on Track 61 and from North Station along the Grand Junction to a new station near Boston University's West Campus. This new West Station would offer connections between the Grand Junction DMU route, the Riverside DMU route, and conventional commuter service on the Worcester Line. It was proposed to attract commercial development to the Beacon Park area, similar to Assembly Station and the Assembly Square development in Somerville, Massachusetts.
However, no dedicated funding source was established for the Indigo Line plans, including West Station. In May 2014, MassDOT announced that the station would not be included in the budget for the Turnpike project, placing it in an uncertain future.
On September 30, 2014, a press conference was held in Beacon Park Yard to announce that the station would be constructed in concert with the Turnpike straightening. The cost of the $25 million station will be split between Harvard University, the state, and a third party to be determined. In March 2015, the Boston Globe revealed that Boston University was to have been the final third; however, this was not finalized before Deval Patrick left office. BU's contribution would be dependent on a promise that automobile and bus traffic would not travel through BU's West Campus to reach the station, and instead use new roads being constructed during the Beacon Park project. (BU later dropped this demand.)
By 2016, the station was scheduled to begin construction in 2019 and to be completed along with the highway project. Earlier estimates suggested a 3-4 year construction time. State legislators representing communities along the Worcester Line have expressed concern than Boston Landing and West Station would slow down trips for suburban commuters.
In December 2017, the state announced that the station would not be completed until 2040, after the Harvard-owned land has been redeveloped. The projected cost of the station had increased to $95 million by that time due to the addition of a bus transfer level and other scope increases. In response to a plea from city and state politicians, in January 2018, Harvard University increased its pledge to pay $50 million of the cost, with an additional $8 million incentive to build an early action interim station. The Turnpike straightening is proceeding regardless due to the deteriorating state of the existing viaduct.
- Vaccaro, Adam (December 2, 2017). "Transit station delayed for big Mass. Pike project". Boston Globe.
- Ramos, Dante (9:53 AM - 24 Jan 2018). "So, this is promising news: In letter today to @MassDOT @Steph_Pollack, Harvard ups commitment to West Station to $50m, plus $8M for "early action" commuter station.pic.twitter.com/cnOgzAKu0G". @danteramos. Retrieved 2018-01-24. Check date values in:
- Elowitt, Karen (26 April 2007). "Allston could get commuter rail station". Wicked Local. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- "Allston Multimodal Station Study" (PDF). Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation. 15 June 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- Trachtenberg, Mark D. (11 June 2009). "Perspective: Commuter rail for Allston at last". Wicked Local. Archived from the original on 2 October 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Dyer, John (16 June 2010). "Much is riding on Worcester rail deal". Boston Globe. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
- "Spring Commuter Rail schedules will go into effect on Monday, May 22, 2017" (Press release). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. April 12, 2017.
- Rocheleau, Matt (23 October 2014). "Photos: Conceptual designs of project to straighten Mass. Pike in Allston". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Annear, Steve (9 January 2014). "Take A Ride On The MBTA's 'New Indigo Line' In 2024". Boston Magazine. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Quinn, Garrett (10 January 2014). "MassDOT five-year plan includes introduction of Indigo Line, extension of Green Line". Springfield Republican. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- McMorrow, Steve (14 January 2014). "Allston rail yard is ripe for growth". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Powers, Martine (9 April 2014). "Straighter Mass. Pike may dramatically redefine Allston". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Powers, Martine (27 May 2014). "Allston rail station plan scrapped for now: MassDOT says new station too costly". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Dungca, Nicole (30 September 2014). "New transit station to connect Allston to downtown". Boston Globe. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
- Levenson, Michael (16 March 2015). "BU had planned to contribute to West Station project, record shows". BostonGlobe.com. Boston Globe. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Harvard ups financial commitment for West Station, calls for interim train stop in Allston
- Gross, Nick (July 2016). "Placemaking Output Meeting Notes of June 27, 2016" (PDF). Howard Stein Hudson. p. 9.
- "BBrown" (19 October 2014). "Relief coming to Wellesley Mass Pike, train commuters". The Swellesley Report. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- Media related to West Station (MBTA) at Wikimedia Commons