Aug 04, 2023
MBTA to shut down Ashmont, Mattapan branches in October
The state of JFK/UMass Station last year. (Gintautas Dumcius photo) The MBTA plans to fully close the Ashmont branch of the Red Line and the Mattapan trolley line during the second half of October.
The state of JFK/UMass Station last year. (Gintautas Dumcius photo)
The MBTA plans to fully close the Ashmont branch of the Red Line and the Mattapan trolley line during the second half of October.
The shutdown will last between Saturday, Oct. 14 and Sunday, Oct. 29. The MBTA says the closure is needed for “critical” replacement work on the tracks, which are some of the oldest systemwide. The Red Line has been plagued by “slow zones,” with long wait times at stations and trains inching along as cars and commuter rail trains fly by.
The stations on the Dorchester section of the Red Line also have crumbling staircases. The Dorchester section includes JFK/UMass, Savin Hill, Fields Corner, Shawmut, and Ashmont stations. The Mattapan trolley runs from Ashmont to Mattapan Square, with stops in Lower Mills and Milton.
Free shuttle bus service will be available for customers during the shutdown, according to the T. The shuttles will operate every five to six minutes during peak weekday hours, and every 10 to 15 minutes during off-peak weekday and weekend hours, making the shuttle bus faster than the current Red Line trains.
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Four “open houses” will take place in September, when members of the public can learn details of the construction work and voice their candid thoughts. The T says without the complete shutdown in October, the work would take six months to complete over nights and weekends.
Mayor Wu, who attended the Thursday meeting of the MBTA board which discussed the shutdown, noted that during last year’s Orange Line shutdown there was essentially free commuter rail available, and ridership boomed. She voiced a hope that free commuter rail would be on the table for the Red Line shutdown, too. JFK/UMass sees three commuter lines come through, heading to the South Shore, including the Middleborough/Lakeville, Kingston and Greenbush (Scituate) lines. The Fairmount Line, which leaves from South Station and runs down to Hyde Park’s Readville area, has multiple stops in Dorchester and Mattapan.
The MBTA said in a press release that during the shutdown, they plan to take advantage of “these full-access closures by identifying additional work opportunities along both lines to improve the rider experience through station enhancements, such as painting, power washing, and repairing lighting fixtures; vegetation removal; the removal of tripping hazards; and accessibility improvements.”
The Ashmont branch sees 40,000 riders on a daily basis. The Mattapan serves 3,700 riders daily.
“Safety of the MBTA system is paramount, and this 16-day closure allows us to address many of the Red Line’s worst speed restrictions much faster than we’ve been able to accomplish during night and weekend work,” Phillip Eng, the MBTA’s general manager, said in a statement. “We understand service changes can be frustrating, and I want to thank the public for their patience while we perform this critical and targeted work between JFK/UMass and Ashmont Stations and on the Mattapan Line.”RELATED: