WILMINGTON, MA — To continue the testing of federally mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) technology, the MBTA will replace weekend Lowell Line train service with free bus shuttle service between Lowell Station and the Orange Line (connecting at Wellington Station) beginning July 7-8 with an anticipated completion in December 2018, with the exception of the July 28-29 weekend.
Should testing be completed sooner than scheduled, customers will be notified prior to the return of train service via train announcements, Twitter @MBTA and @MBTA_CR, and T-alerts.
Regular train service July 28 – 29
Regular weekend Lowell Line train service during the weekend of July 28-29 comes as a response to customer feedback and input regarding Lowell Folk Festival festivities taking place during that time period. As a result, the MBTA has modified its shuttle schedule to accommodate riders and crowds attending the festival with regular weekend Lowell Line train service on July 28-29.
PTC and GLX work on the Lowell Line
With efficiency as a top priority, the MBTA will also take advantage of Lowell Line weekend shutdowns related to PTC by performing work on the Green Line Extension (GLX) project. During weekends in August and possibly into late fall 2018, in which the Lowell Line train service will already be replaced with bus shuttles, GLX is able to perform construction activities that include the shifting of some portions of the Lowell Line track to make room for new Green Line rail in the same area.
Bus Shuttle Details
The free weekend bus service along the Lowell Line between Lowell and Wellington on the Orange Line will make stops at all stations (except North Station). At Wellington, riders can make subway connections via the Orange Line using a one-way fare costing $2.25 on a CharlieCard or $2.75 with cash/CharlieTicket.
All buses are accessible for persons with disabilities. Bicycles are prohibited on all buses during all service hours.
Customers should also note that on Labor Day (Monday, September 3), regular Sunday train service schedules will operate on the Lowell Line, not weekend-related bus shuttles.
More About PTC
The Lowell and Stoughton Commuter Rail Lines have been identified by the MBTA as PTC “pilot” lines as required by Federal PTC regulations. Rigorous testing of the new system must be completed on these lines by the end of 2018 with similarly robust testing occurring on all lines in which PTC is implemented following the success of each pilot line.
The first MBTA PTC installation began the weekend of July 8, 2017, on the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Line with various Commuter Rail lines across the system currently at various stages of PTC hardware installation.
The MBTA’s PTC Implementation Plan submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration provides for the installation of hardware on all commuter rail lines and 2 pilot lines in service (Stoughton Line and Lowell Line) by the end of 2018 with full PTC implementation by December 31, 2020.
(NOTE: The above press release is from the MBTA.)
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