Wareham Selectmen to pressure state on adding commuter rail stop

By Lydia Goerner | Feb 13, 2018
Photo by: Lydia Goerner Selectmen Chair Peter Teitelbaum speaks about the commuter rail on Tuesday.

Selectmen will lobby state officials for a year-round commuter rail stop in Wareham after state transportation officials committed $935 million to linking the South Coast and Boston via train. Selectman Alan Slavin said the announcement arrived after three decades of much discussion, but little action.

“They’ve never committed money or a date before after 30 years,” Slavin said. “It’s a long time coming.”

The money will help fund construction of commuter rail service to the South Coast on a route that runs through Middleborough, with service beginning in late 2022. A Wareham stop isn’t currently in the state’s plans, however, Slavin said the town is in a good position to request one.

Wareham has had summer-only commuter rail service since 2013, known as the CapeFlyer. That train runs from Boston to Hyannis with a stop on Merchants Way. The train runs each weekend from Memorial Day until Columbus Day and serves roughly 17,000 riders each summer.

Slavin said Selectmen Chair Peter Teitelbaum will write a letter supporting year-round commuter service. Selectmen will request that the CapeFlyer route be included in the first phase of the project, since it’s “completely operational and doesn’t need anything at all,” Slavin said.

The board will request a meeting with Bourne, Rochester, Marion, Mattapoisett and Carver officials as well as State Representative Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham) to discuss pressuring the state on including the CapeFlyer in the project.

Comments (4)
Posted by: Steve Holmes | Feb 14, 2018 12:45

When I served the Town on the Board this issue was on the table, we were able to get the summer runs in, and the State Funds to build the station stop downtown. Selectman Slavin has worked tirelessly to move the ball down the field. There was a story out about a week or so ago that I read dealing with infrastructure projects within the State and the expansion of Commuter Rail was one of the tops on the list. Keep fighting Alan, this too shall become a reality and a great addition to the Town. Remember though we want a place so that folks can overnight park their vehicles. That's the one piece that is missing in our area, I believe the closest place for overnight parking along the track is up near Bridgewater or Brockton, so when travelling on business or vacation and using the rail to go to Logan, that is very inconvenient, and not worth using the train, so I ended up most times just driving to the airport or the Park and Ride in Braintree. This parking, if managed or leased out by the Town would be a great source of needed revenue for the Town. Keep swinging Alan and the rest of the Board we are almost to the finis line.

Posted by: JollyRoger | Feb 14, 2018 18:07

I agree selectman Slavin has been a strong proponent to extend commuter rail to Wareham.  I hope he gets re-elected -- he has served Wareham well on so many issues.

Regarding the board's actions yesterday, it's fine that they lobby the state for commuter rail, but a more effective path might to be follow the guidelines laid out by the MBTA to request a service pilot.   The MBTA requires a local sponsor (town) to request the service and demonstrate local support for the service.  Details are posted online at https://d3044s2alrsxog.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/fmcb-meeting-docs/reports-policies/2017-transit-pilot-policy.pdf

The town of Foxborough followed this process to great effect -- a commuter rail pilot service to that town is now planned.  This was their presentation:  https://cdn.mbtace.com/sites/default/files/fmcb-meeting-docs/2017/july/073117-proposed-foxboro-service-pilot-need-and-opportunity.pdf

Have Wareham or Bourne officials requested a pilot?  Apparently not, as the MBTA reported during a meeting October 30th.  See page 3 of https://d3044s2alrsxog.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/fmcb-meeting-docs/2017/october/2017-10-30-fmcb-pilot-transit-services-lessons-learned.pdf -- "The City of Lynn and the Town of Bourne opted not to pursue pilot proposals."

It would help if the business community -- particularly the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce -- stepped up and aided Bourne and Wareham by taking a lead role in putting together a pilot proposal.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Feb 15, 2018 11:19

Jolly, great information I will check out these links. I do recall we had the representatives down from the State for the Town to participate in the summer runs. Sounds very similar to the process you have listed above. They needed to be sure we as a Town supported the stop, before they would decide to put a stop in Wareham, and before the State would spend the funds to build the Station. That spot works great for the summer, there is plenty of parking, its downtown etc. I still support putting an article on Town Meeting floor to change the utilization of the nail factory. Currently that land has a restriction so that it cannot be used as a transportation center. There is plenty of opportunity there to create a transportation center, with small shops, and overnight parking. Could be used for the train and busses as well. We spent a lot of money for that location and this would be a great opportunity to turn that property into a revenue generator.

Posted by: Rosebud | Feb 15, 2018 19:44

Although overnight parking would be first choice, many people now use Uber or Lyft.

If you wish to comment, please login.