March 12, 2018

Chamber wants temporary West Station in Allston for Worcester-Framingham line

Grant Welker
A commuter rail train at Union Station in Worcester.

The Framingham-Worcester commuter rail line is one of the busiest in the state, and any disruption as part of the state's effort to reconfigure the Allston portion of the MassPike could impact the line if a temporary station isn't built, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce said in a letter to the state.

The letter, written last month, urges Matthew Beaton, secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, to support the construction of a temporary West Station in Allston to keep the line running smoothly.

In the Feb. 8 letter, Stuart Loosemore, the chamber's general counsel and director of government affairs and public policy, commented on some of the proposals, some of which included closing a track on the line after a second line was installed last year.

"Effectively removing this second track will reinstate the bottleneck that choked commuter and freight rail traffic through that area of the Worcester-Framingham line," Loosemore wrote.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced in December the project phase including West Station is targeted sometime prior to 2040.

However, Beaton in February as part of a draft environmental impact report said a majority of public commenters want the station built as the first phase, which is scheduled to be competed by 2025.

Loosemore spoke of concerns the project's traffic model could rely more on vehicular traffic rather than enhancing other modes of transportation, including the commuter rail.

"We believe there are many positives that will be delivered by strengthening the connection between Worcester's life sciences and biotech cluster with Cambridge and Kendall Square's dynamic life sciences and biotech community," he said.

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