The South Coast Rail project will restore commuter rail service between Boston and southeastern Massachusetts by the end of 2023. Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford are the only major cities within 50 miles of Boston that do not currently have commuter rail access to Boston. South Coast Rail will reconnect this region to jobs and generate economic development.
On July 2, Governor Charlie Baker celebrated the beginning of Phase 1 construction for the South Coast Rail Groundbreaking in East Freetown. The Groundbreaking marked a significant milestone for South Coast Rail, as Early Action construction projects are underway for Phase 1. Read more about Phase 1 progress in the press release and the Spring 2019 fact sheet.
South Coast Rail will be built in phases. Phase 1 and Full Build.
Phase 1 service will:
- provide a one-seat ride by extending the existing Middleborough/Lakeville commuter rail service from Boston to Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford
- deliver service to the South Coast late in 2023, years before service is possible under the Full Build Project
- use the Middleborough Secondary (currently a freight line) to connect South Coast passengers with service on the existing Middleborough/Lakeville commuter rail line
- reconstruct 17.3 miles of the New Bedford Main Line and 11.7 miles of the Fall River Secondary
- upgrade the existing Middleborough Secondary track from Pilgrim Junction to Cotley Junction (a distance of 7.1 miles)
- operate three morning peak trains and three evening peak trains to both New Bedford and Fall River
- operate up to six morning and six evening peak trains to Taunton and Middleborough because all of the trains will pass through these communities
At the same time, MassDOT will proceed with designing, permitting and funding the Stoughton Straight Electric Alternative (Full Build Project), which was already reviewed under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). The Full Build Project will travel on the Stoughton Main Line and Northeast Corridor (north of Canton Junction). The Full Build presents more challenges related to wetland impacts, complex engineering, electrification and cost. An anticipated service start date will be developed as the project advances.
For more details, see the Phase 1 and Full Build corridor maps.
South Coast Rail will continue to have a robust public outreach program to ensure a transparent process and successful project outcome.