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Building a Better T: 7-Day Lowell Commuter Rail Line Closure Begins May 18

Posted on May 11, 2020

All-day diversion from Anderson/Woburn Station to North Station from Monday, May 18, through Sunday, May 24.

Shuttle buses will be provided.


The MBTA today announced a 7-day full closure of the Lowell Commuter Rail Line between Anderson/Woburn Station and North Station beginning Monday, May 18, to support the construction of the Green Line Extension (GLX) project. During this work, shuttle buses will replace service between Anderson/Woburn and North Stations for 7 consecutive days, including both weekdays and weekends, beginning at the start of service May 18 through the end of service on Sunday, May 24. 

Graphic of the Lowell Line, showing bus shuttles making all stops between Anderson/Woburn and North Station, except for Mishawum. There is also an express shuttle from Anderson/Woburn directly to North Station.

Each scheduled train will be replaced by both a local shuttle bus and an express shuttle bus. Local shuttles will make all stops, except at Mishawum Station. Express shuttles will operate directly between Anderson/Woburn and North Stations.

The temporary closure of the Lowell Commuter Rail Line is necessary to further advance the construction of critical infrastructure inside the narrow rail corridor shared by the Lowell Line and the GLX project, which is now under construction in Medford, Somerville, and Cambridge. During the closure, 2 critical cross-track drainage lines will be installed beneath the Tufts Interlocking in Medford. This 7-day closure is in addition to a previously announced weekend shuttle bus diversion in Lowell Line service from Anderson/Woburn to North Stations on May 16-17, which will also take place next weekend, resulting in 9 consecutive days of service replaced with shuttle buses in this area.

This work comes as part of the MBTA’s plan to quicken the pace of infrastructure projects in 2020 and the MBTA is assessing whether other projects can be further accelerated. Similar to the recently announced 14-day closure of the Blue Line between Bowdoin and Airport Stations, the Lowell Line work was previously scheduled to be accomplished through a series of weekend diversions later this year. Doing the work now allows its completion at a time when both transit ridership and traffic on the roadways that shuttle buses will use is much lower than it is likely to be by the fall. 

To safely and efficiently accommodate essential riders who do continue to use the Lowell Line, the MBTA’s bus shuttle plan includes measures to promote social distancing that protect MBTA workers and riders, and the MBTA will carefully monitor ridership levels on the shuttle buses, adjusting service levels if needed.

In compliance with the Executive Order that went into effect on May 6, MBTA customers must wear face coverings while onboard shuttle buses. Additionally, to promote social distancing efforts and protect the health and safety of MBTA riders and bus operators, ridership on shuttle buses will be limited. The MBTA will also keep a robust fleet of shuttles on standby to accommodate ridership demands as needed.

The GLX project, which is scheduled for completion in December 2021, is part of the MBTA’s $8 billion Building a Better T program to replace subway fleets, modernize stations, and upgrade tracks, signals, and switches. The project will extend existing MBTA Green Line service north of Lechmere Station and into the communities of Somerville, Cambridge, and Medford. The project involves construction of 6 new Green Line stations along 2 branches (the Medford Branch and Union Square Branch) along with the relocation and reconstruction of Lechmere Station.

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