Wickford Junction station

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Wickford Junction platform 1.JPG
Platform at Wickford Junction in June 2012
Location 1011 Ten Rod Road
North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Coordinates 41°34′51″N 71°29′29″W / 41.5808°N 71.4914°W / 41.5808; -71.4914Coordinates: 41°34′51″N 71°29′29″W / 41.5808°N 71.4914°W / 41.5808; -71.4914
Owned by RIDOT
Line(s) Northeast Corridor
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 3 (two main and one platform siding)
Connections Bus transport RIPTA: 65X, 66
Parking 1100 spaces ($4.00 fee)
Bicycle facilities 20 spots (free)
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Fare zone 10
Opened 1844, April 23, 2012
Closed October 24, 1981 (former station)
Electrified Main tracks (but not platform siding)
Passengers (Q1 2017) 292 daily boardings[1]
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
Terminus Providence/Stoughton Line
  Former services  
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak
toward New Haven
Beacon Hill
Closed 1981

Wickford Junction station 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.


1871 station after 1887 addition

Former station[edit]

1890-built station in 1914

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.[2] 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.[3] A new station named Wickford Junction was built in 1871 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.[2] Passenger service ended on the branch in 1925, though some mainline service continued to stop.[2]

The station building was torn down in 1969, leaving just the stone foundation, which was later filled with gravel.[2] The pedestrian overpass was moved in 1971 to Route 128 station, where it remained until the station was rebuilt in 2000.[4][5] 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 April 30, 1978 to October 24, 1981.[6][7][8] 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.[2] 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.[9] 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.

Modern station[edit]

The station under construction in January 2012

After Beacon Hill service ended in 1981, some residents proposed a new station and the restoration of service. Bob Coie, a local builder, had bought a strip of land along the tracks in 1959 and acquired a large parcel along their west side in 1982. In 1985, he convinced the town to upzone the land for commercial use with the intention of eventually building a "pre-planned business district" and commuter rail station there.[10] 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.[11] An addendum in 1995 projected daily ridership from Wickford to be 2,869 in 2000 and 3,386 in 2020.[12] An operations plan was released in 2001, and environmental assessment was completed in 2003.[13]

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.[14]

Ground was broken for the new station on August 18, 2010.[15] Primary construction work on the station platform and garage was completed "on time and under budget" in December 2011, and a test train was run to the station in March 2012.[10][16] The station opened on April 23, 2012.[6] 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.[17] A 8-foot (2.4 m)-tall bronze sculpture celebrating the history of rail service at Wickford Junction was completed in October 2015.[18]


Ridership at Wickford Junction has been far below projections, some of which had assumed that transit-oriented development would be constructed at the station.[19] Daily boarding were projected to reach 3,386 in 2020 by the 1995 analysis; this was halved to 1,669 in the 2003 Environmental Assessment.[12][13]

Initial ridership in May 2012 was 130 inbound riders per day, of whom 80 percent rode to Providence and 20 percent to Boston.[20] Ridership increased to 150 riders per day by early June and to 175 daily by February 2014, with growth falling short of expectations.[21][22]

Ridership averaged 292 daily boardings in the first quarter of 2017.[1] For the second half of 2017, the state offered free intrastate rides in an attempt to promote the under-utilized T.F. Green Airport and Wickford Junction stations. The six-month promotion was expected to cost about $102,000.[19] Ridership increased by 50% within the first month of the promotion.[23] The station currently only has weekday service, but planners hope to add weekend service eventually.[21]

Bus operations and consolidation[edit]

Garage and drop-off lane / busway

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 on all trips; however, the plan was held up by concerns about eliminating free parking in the lot in favor of the paid garage.[24] 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.[25][26] A judge blocked RIDOT's sale plan in July 2017 over concerns about the rights of the family of the original property owners (from whom it was taken by eminent domain in the 1930s) to buy back the property.[27]

In August 2015, RIDOT announced that it would be taking over operations and maintenance at Wickford Junction from a private contractor. The savings from the change - estimated at $340,000 annually - were to be used to increase frequencies on the 65X route.[28][29] At the same time, RIDOT began a two-week, $372,500 project to allow bus operations to be shifted to the station, which involved constructing a bus depot next to the garage and a new access driveway from Route 102.[28]

Only "preliminary work" was completed by August 31 when Coie's company, owner of the adjacent shopping plaza, filed a lawsuit against RIDOT, alleging that the changes would reduce traffic to the shopping center and cause a safety issue. RIDOT answered the claim, saying that the 2009 land deal gave the agency exclusive rights to the transit facility land.[30] The state settled the lawsuit with the company in November 2015 by agreeing to pay $750,000 by July 2016.[31] Effective December 7, 2015, all 65X and 66 trips were rerouted to Wickford Junction, with the garage now open all hours every day. The restrooms and waiting room had full hours beginning in January 2016.[32]

Rail operations[edit]

Siding and Stony interlocking construction in January 2012

The station opened on April 23, 2012 with ten trains in each direction on weekdays.[33] 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.[33]

The station is located on an 0.7-mile (1.1 km) 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, and for commuter rail trains to enter and exit the Northeast Corridor at speed (and thus interfere less with Amtrak operations).[11] Wickford Junction station is located at milepost 165.8 on the Northeast Corridor - 16 miles from Providence and 63 miles from Boston.[13]

The 2014 State Rail Plan recommended 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, was expected to increase ridership at Wickford to as high as 3,400 riders per day.[9]


  1. ^ a b White, Tim (May 23, 2017). "Free rides offered at Wickford Junction train station as usage lags forecast". WPRI. Retrieved May 25, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Cranston, Timothy G. (7 June 2001). "The Wickford Junction Train Station" (PDF). North Kingstown Free Library. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "History". Historic Wickford Village. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Humphrey, Thomas J. & Clark, Norton D. (1986). Boston's Commuter Rail: Second Section. Boston Street Railway Association. p. 54. 
  5. ^ Haskel, Donald (September 1966). "NH 2059 New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad EMD FL9 at Kingston, Rhode Island". RailPictures.Net. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Belcher, Jonathan (December 31, 2017). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district 1964-2017" (PDF). NETransit. 
  7. ^ Hebert, H. Josef (August 26, 1981). "New Amtrak Network Keeps Most of System Intact". Associated Press. 
  8. ^ "National Train Timetables Effective February 3-April 26, 1980". Amtrak. February 3, 1980. 
  9. ^ a b "Rhode Island State Rail Plan 2014" (PDF). Rhode island Department of Administration. 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Eno, Paul F. (June 2012). "Never give up on your dream!: Bob Cioe's dream, recently opened Wickford Junction, dates back to 1959" (PDF). The Rhode Island Builder Report. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 October 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "Rail Corridor Feasibility Study" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. November 1994. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 24, 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Edwards and Kelcey, Inc (July 2001). "South County Commuter Rail Service Plan" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  13. ^ a b c "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. 
  14. ^ Associated Press (31 December 2009). "RI moves forward with commuter rail service plans". Worcester Telegram and Gazette. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Associated Press (18 August 2010). "RI to break ground on commuter rail station". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  16. ^ Turner, Samantha (22 March 2012). "All Aboard in April for Wickford Junction". North Kingstown Patch. AOL Inc. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "Wickford Junction Commuter Rail" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  18. ^ "Local artist completes large bronze sculpture installed in Rhode Island". County 10. 13 October 2015. Archived from the original on 14 October 2015. 
  19. ^ a b "You can ride Rhode Island's commuter rail for free starting Monday". Boston Globe. July 2, 2017. 
  20. ^ Davis, Katie (23 May 2012). "State waits for passengers to discover commuter rail". NBC 10 Providence. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  21. ^ a b Turner, Samantha (12 June 2012). "Wickford Junction Averaging 150 Riders Per Day". North Kingstown Patch. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  22. ^ Taricani, Jim (13 February 2014). "I-Team: Ridership at Wickford train station slowly increasing". NBC 10. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  23. ^ Anderson, Patrick (July 26, 2017). "Free train rides boost ridership between Wickford Junction, Providence by 50 percent". Providence Journal. Archived from the original on November 26, 2017. 
  24. ^ Brassard, Peter (18 January 2013). "Wickford Junction Station and the Route 2/102 Park and Ride". Greater City Providence. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  25. ^ Nickerson, Jef (8 July 2015). "ProJo: DOT seeks permission to move RIPTA commuter lot in North Kingstown". Greater City Providence. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  26. ^ Grimaldi, Paul (7 July 2015). "DOT seeks permission to move RIPTA commuter lot in North Kingstown". Providence Journal. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  27. ^ Anderson, Patrick (July 26, 2017). "Judge blocks DOT plan to sell old commuter parking lot in N. Kingstown". Providence Journal. Archived from the original on November 26, 2017. 
  28. ^ a b Anderson, Patrick (25 August 2015). "R.I. transportation officials say taking over Wickford rail station 'no-brainer'". Providence Journal. Archived from the original on 2 October 2015. 
  29. ^ "Wickford Junction Transit Center Efficiency Initiative" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  30. ^ Naylor, Donita (October 24, 2015). "Suit puts Wickford Junction bus depot on hold". Providence Journal. Retrieved December 3, 2015. 
  31. ^ Anderson, Patrick (December 11, 2015). "R.I. to pay $750,000 to exit Wickford Junction train station maintenance deal". Providence Journal. Retrieved 13 December 2015. 
  32. ^ "RIDOT and RIPTA Providing More Transit Choices from Wickford Junction Transit Center" (Press release). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. December 2, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2015. 
  33. ^ a b "RIDOT announces start of commuter rail service at Wickford Junction Train Station" (Press release). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. April 5, 2012. Archived from the original on May 11, 2013. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 

External links[edit]