WILMINGTON, MA — Town Manager Jeff Hull updated the public on the town’s latest efforts to address the ongoing issue of trains stopping at the North Wilmington Commuter Rail station on Route 62 and blocking emergency vehicles en route to emergencies.
Town officials, including Hull and Selectman Chair Kevin Caira, recently met with State Senator Bruce Tarr, State Representative David Robertson, and others to discuss the matter.
Hull stressed the station’s ridership is extremely low, which is affecting MBTA’s desire to fix the situation.
“On average, the number of riders inbound is 57 per day and outbound is 85 per day,” said Hull. “This colors MBTA’s approach to dealing to this. With ridership at those levels, I think there’s some trepidation about spending money on upgrades to that area.”
Hull outlined two scenarios the town are currently exploring.
“Right now, for every scheduled stop, the train does – in fact – come to a complete stop, even if people aren’t trying to onboard or offboard,” explained Hull. “The thought going forward is, when there’s no ridership at the station, for the train to continue to travel through at a slow rate, but not stop. This doesn’t solve the problem, but the train will be impeding travel for a shorter period of time.”
Hull and officials are also looking into the Federal Transit Administration’s criteria that governs the requirements to making substantial upgrades when a platform is being redesigned. A redesigned platform could potentially allow trains to sometimes pull through without having to stop across Route 62.
“There may be cases with stations like Wilmington’s where the ridership level is so low that there may be some limited upgrades that can be made without triggering a more expansive and expensive upgrade to the whole facility,” noted Hull.
Wilmington’s legislative delegation at the State House will provide an update to the town in mid-February.
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