Wickford Junction (MBTA station)
Platform at Wickford Junction in June 2012
|Location||1011 Ten Rod Road (Route 102), North Kingstown, Rhode Island|
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Tracks||3 (two main and one platform siding)|
|Connections||RIPTA: 66 (limited weekday service)|
|Parking||1100 spaces ($4.00 fee)|
|Bicycle facilities||20 spots (free)|
|Opened||1844, April 23, 2012|
|Closed||1981 (former station)|
|Electrified||Main tracks (but not platform siding)|
|Passengers (daily - February 2014)||175|
Wickford Junction is a commuter rail station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, United States on the Northeast Corridor, extending the Providence/Stoughton Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail south from Providence. It serves local commuters to Providence, Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts. The new station, which opened on April 23, 2012, has a large park and ride garage and was part of a $336 million project that also included the new T. F. Green Airport station. A former station on the site served mainline trains from 1844 to 1981, as well as the Wickford Branch from 1870 to 1925.
In 1844, seven years after the Rhode Island section of the New York, Providence and Boston Railroad opened, a small station was placed at Wickford. The Newport & Wickford Railway & Steamship Line opened in 1870 as a branch from the mainline to Wickford Landing, where wealthy riders would board steamships to Newport. A new station named Wickford Junction was built at a cost of $8,000, with a $3,500 addition sixteen years later. The station burned and was replaced by a smaller structure around 1890. Passenger service ended on the branch in 1925, though some mainline service continued to stop.
The station building was torn down in 1969, leaving just the stone foundation, which was later filled with gravel. The pedestrian overpass was moved in 1971 to Route 128 station, where it remained until the station was rebuilt in 2000. The station, by then just bare platforms, was served by a state-subsidized Providence-to-Westerly commuter train starting in 1972, and later by Amtrak's Beacon Hill from 1978 to 1981. After the Beacon Hill was discontinued, the station closed.
The Wickford Landing branch's right-of-way is still extant, as is the remains of a turntable about 700 feet north of Ten Rod Road. The state is considering building a bikeway along the right-of-way to connect the Wickford town center with the Wickford Junction development and station. The original station's foundation still abuts the east side of the tracks 200 feet south of the Ten Rod Road overpass, but it is buried under a gravel access road.
After service ended in 1981, some residents proposed a new station and the restoration of service. A state study of rail corridors was completed in 1994 and the Northeast Corridor was designated as the highest-priority line for commuter service to Providence. Environmental assessment was completed in 2003.
Partial funding for the new station was contained in the 2005 Transportation Bill. An additional $12,269,449 was contained in an earmark to the FY2008 Transportation and Housing & Urban Development appropriations bill. In late 2009, the State of Rhode Island spent $3.2 million to purchase 350,000 square feet (33,000 m2) of land for the station and parking garage, with hopes that it could be in service in 2011.
Ground was broken for the new station on August 18, 2010. Primary construction work on the station platform was completed in December 2011, and a test train was run to the station in March 2012. The station opened on April 23, 2012.
A major part of the modern station is the four-story parking garage, which was modeled after the nearby Lafayette Mill. The garage includes an indoor waiting room - rare in the MBTA system - and a small coffee/snack shop.
The station opened on April 23, 2012 with ten trains in each direction on weekdays. Two off-peak trains run only as far as Providence, while the other eight - including five rush hour trains - run to Boston. Travel time is approximately 35 minutes to Providence and 100 minutes to Boston. Some 80% of the 1700 riders per day projected for the extension to T.F. Green and Wickford are expected to board at Wickford Junction.
The station is located on a short siding which connects to the southbound mainline track at Stony interlocking. The siding allows Amtrak trains to pass while a commuter train is stopped at the station. Wickford Junction station is located at milepost 165.8 on the Northeast Corridor - 16 miles from Providence and 63 miles from Boston.
Initial ridership in May 2012 was 130 inbound riders per day, of whom 80 percent rode to Providence and 20 percent to Boston. Ridership increased to 150 riders per day by early June and to 175 daily by February 2014, with growth falling short of expectations. The station currently only has weekday service, but planners hope to add weekend service eventually.
The 2014 State Rail Plan recommends the implementation of shuttle service between Wickford Junction and Providence via T.F. Green Airport with half-hour headways. The service, which could be operated with multiple units rather than conventional locomotive-hauled commuter trains, is expected to increase ridership at Wickford to as high as 3,400 riders per day.
Wickford Junction's drop-off lane also serves as a busway, which RIPTA bus route 66 URI / Galilee briefly served before it was rerouted to a park-and-ride closer to Route 2. In January 2013, RIDOT began planning to sell the park-and-ride property and reroute the 66 and the new 65X Wakefield Express to Wickford Junction; however, the plan was held up by concerns about eliminating free parking in the lot in favor of the paid garage. In July 2015, the agency renewed plans to sell the park-and-ride lot for an estimated $1.9 million and reroute the buses, but similar concerns were voiced at a public meeting.
- "Wickford Junction". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- "RIDOT announces start of commuter rail service at Wickford Junction Train Station". Rhode Island Department of Transportation. 5 April 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
- Belcher, Jonathan (31 December 2011). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- Cranston, Timothy G. (7 June 2001). "The Wickford Junction Train Station" (PDF). North Kingstown Free Library. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "History". Historic Wickford Village. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Humphrey, Thomas J. and Clark, Norton D. (1986). Boston's Commuter Rail: Second Section. Boston Street Railway Association. p. 54.
- Haskel, Donald (September 1966). "NH 2059 New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad EMD FL9 at Kingston, Rhode Island". RailPictures.Net. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Hebert, H. Josef (August 26, 1981). "New Amtrak Network Keeps Most of System Intact". Associated Press.
- Amtrak (February 3, 1980). "Passenger Stations". Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- "Rhode Island State Rail Plan 2014" (PDF). Rhode island Department of Administration. 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Rail Corridor Feasibility Study" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. November 1994. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 April 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "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.
- Associated Press (31 December 2009). "RI moves forward with commuter rail service plans". Worcester Telegram and Gazette. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- Associated Press (18 August 2010). "RI to break ground on commuter rail station". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- "January Luncheon: Wickford Junction Commuter Rail Station" (PDF). Advancing Women in Transportation Rhode Island Chapter. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- Turner, Samantha (22 March 2012). "All Aboard in April for Wickford Junction". North Kingstown Patch (AOL Inc.). Retrieved 23 March 2012.
- "Wickford Junction Commuter Rail" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- Davis, Katie (23 May 2012). "State waits for passengers to discover commuter rail". NBC 10 Providence. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- Turner, Samantha (12 June 2012). "Wickford Junction Averaging 150 Riders Per Day". North Kingstown Patch. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
- Taricani, Jim (13 February 2014). "I-Team: Ridership at Wickford train station slowly increasing". NBC 10. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- Brassard, Peter (18 January 2013). "Wickford Junction Station and the Route 2/102 Park and Ride". Greater City Providence. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- Nickerson, Jef (8 July 2015). "ProJo: DOT seeks permission to move RIPTA commuter lot in North Kingstown". Greater City Providence. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- Grimaldi, Paul (7 July 2015). "DOT seeks permission to move RIPTA commuter lot in North Kingstown". Providence Journal. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wickford Junction (MBTA station).|