The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the public agency responsible for operating most public transportation services in Greater Boston, Massachusetts, USA, has awarded a $30 million contract to carry out Phases 2 and 3 of the project to install double track on the Franklin line to Keolis. This follows that company’s successful completion of Phase 1, ahead of schedule and under budget.
This contract will follow on from Phase 1, which was awarded to Keolis in February 2019 and managed by Keolis Commuter Services in partnership with MBTA’s Railroad Operations team. It adds four miles of double track between Walpole and Norfolk Stations and is to be commissioned in spring 2020, following completion of construction in December 2019.
Phase 2 will add three and a half miles of double track between Norfolk Station and Frank Street. Work on this will commence by December 2020 while, at the same time, preliminary design work will begin on Phase 3, focusing on the four-mile section of track between Walpole and Norwood Central stations.
Once Phase 3 is completed, a double-track line will extend along the entire section between South Station in Boston and Franklin Station.
The Franklin line is one of the commuter rail’s busiest routes, with demand having grown since 2012 by 1,500 more passengers each day. The route is also used by freight trains, which sometimes leads to service delays. Doubling the track will improve the line’s reliability and support future network growth, creating the opportunity to schedule a Franklin line express service and additional train services.
Keolis Commuter Services general manager David Scorey said: “We’re pleased to partner with MBTA in helping to deliver critical and strategic infrastructure upgrades that will not only improve service for our passengers but also prepare for the longer-term vision of the Commuter Rail.
“To have delivered phase 1 under budget and ahead of schedule provides an added benefit to the Commonwealth and taxpayers too, and we look forward to working on these important future phases.”