Weekday Train Service on Track to Resume Next Monday, T Tells Town

IMG_20170804_082828_1Weekday commuter rail service is expected to resume as planned on Monday, Aug. 14 because work to repair the Beverly drawbridge is on schedule.

The update was offered to Hamilton town officials this week by the MBTA.

Interim MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak made a visit the Beverly Drawbridge Replacement Project this weekend. The work is on schedule and nearing completion, according to the T.

The 28-day shutdown of all Newburyport/Rockport Line service north of Salem, including service to Hamilton-Wenham station, was required in order to replace the 120-year-old swing-span bridge in Beverly and conduct follow-up alignment and testing work, which will result in more reliable Newburyport/Rockport line service. Due to the shutdown, the MBTA started on July 17 with replacement shuttle bus service between Hamilton-Wenham station and Salem station. Poftak said that regular weekday train service will resume as planned and advertised on Monday, August 14.

Also ongoing is the installation of federally-mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) infrastructure – a safety system that prevents train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, and human error – along the Newburyport/Rockport, which means commuter rail trains aren’t operating on weekends through Sept. 30.


Last Minute Reminder: Route 1A Closed at Railroad Crossing This Weekend

IMG_20170719_120758A major road through the center of Hamilton will be closed for most of this weekend.

Bay Road (Route 1A) will be closed at the railroad crossing starting Friday, July 28 at 8 p.m. and stay closed through Sunday, July 30 at about 4 p.m.

All northbound traffic will be detoured down Linden Street or Railroad Avenue to Willow Street, according to Hamilton police. To get to the Shoppes at Hamilton Crossing, Cumberland Farms or Hamilton Convenience Store, drivers will need to go around and drive south on Bay Road or use Walnut Road from Wenham.

The MBTA will work on improvement stop the crossing during the closure.

Hamilton police detail officers will be in place during the work and police ask that drivers allow for extra time and expect delays in the area.

Driver Alert: Weekend Road Closures Planned at Railroad Crossings

IMG_20170719_120517The two railroad crossings in downtown Hamilton will be separately closed to vehicles during the next two weekends for track work.

During the closures, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority will repair and replace the train tracks at the crossings.

The work will start at the Asbury Street crossing near Bay Road, which will be closed to vehicles at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 21. The closure will continue through Saturday, July 22 at 9 p.m.

The work will then shift to the crossing at Bay and Walnut roads the following weekend. Work will start at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 28 and will continue through Saturday, July 29 and is scheduled to be complete by 9 p.m.

The work is required in order to maintain the safe travel of trains and pedestrians through the area and to re-establish full service as soon as possible, according to the T.

Each street will be closed in both directions at the railroad crossings in order to complete the work, but access to all businesses will be maintained during the work. The municipal parking lot on Asbury Street will also be accessible from the Bay Road end of Asbury Street.

Hamilton police officers will be posted throughout the detour to assist with traffic flow and message boards have been put up to alert commuters.


Four Straight Weeks of Replacement Shuttle Bus Service Starts for Commuter Rail on Saturday

IMG_20170714_145451A four week long complete shutdown of MBTA commuter rail service to Hamilton-Wenham station starts on Saturday, July 15.

There will be replacement shuttle bus service for every day that the train isn’t running and the T has set up temporary shuttle bus stops along Route 1A (Bay Road) near the intersection of Railroad Avenue.

During weekdays, train service north of Salem station will be halted until Aug. 13 for work on the Beverly drawbridge across the Danvers River.

The weekday shuttle bus service will be free. A zone 3 monthly pass will be accepted at all stations north of Salem for the months of July and August. The shuttle buses will be ADA accessible with Wi-Fi service and restrooms. Bicycles, including folding bikes, will be prohibited on all shuttle buses.

Parking will be free at Hamilton-Wenham station during the weekday shutdown. Commuter rail riders are encouraged to not drive to Salem station and park because parking there is very constrained. Parking regulations will be strictly enforced in downtown Salem and neighborhood areas to the station, according to the T.

The weekday shutdown for commuter rail service north of Salem is scheduled to run from Monday, July 17 through Sunday, Aug. 13.

Separate from the drawbridge work that will shut down train service north of Salem, weekend replacement shuttle bus service will last into September for the entire length of the Newburyport train line. The weekend shut down is for a safety improvement project.

The closure will allow the MBTA to install a federally mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) system along the tracks. PTC will improve safety by reducing train collisions and derailments.

A shuttle bus will stop at Hamilton-Wenham station on weekends until Sunday, Sept. 30. Just as is the case during the weekday shutdown, the weekend replacement shuttle bus service is ADA accessible with Wi-Fi service and restrooms.

The special weekend fare for the shuttle bus service is $10 roundtrip to North Station in Boston. Zone 3 or higher monthly passes will also be accepted and parking will be free at Hamilton-Wenham station during the weekend shutdown.

Detailed shuttle bus times and schedules are available on the MBTA website.

Town in Search of T Representative

mbta symbolThe town of Hamilton is in search of a liaison to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

The volunteer position acts as a general liaison to the MBTA and attends the control board meetings as one part of the job, according to Town Manager Michael Lombardo.

“It’s an important position because it keeps an ear to the ground, so to speak, having someone attend the meetings and be able to keep track of what is going on and how it may affect the town,” Lombardo said.

It is especially important now, he said, because of a proposal to install two 70-foot monopoles along the railroad tracks in Hamilton as part of a project to put in new wifi service for train passengers.

While Hamilton needs someone to fill the MBTA liaison role to represent the town’s interests, in general, it is also important to have the position filled as the MBTA rethinks the monopole project.

Anyone interested in the position is encouraged to contact Lombardo directly at mlombardo@hamiltonma.gov to get more information or also contact any member of the Board of Selectmen.

Substitute Bus Service to Be Available from Hamilton MBTA Station during Track Work This Summer

mbta commuter railEvery commuter rail station north of Boston – including Hamilton-Wenham station – will be served with substitute bus service later this summer during a construction project that will shut down train service for about a month, according to a recent message from the MBTA to Hamilton town leaders.

The MBTA calls it “enhanced mitigation” for the effect that the work will have on commuters. The Beverly drawbridge over the Danvers River between Beverly and Salem will be reconstructed  from July 17 to Aug. 13. That will mean no train service north of Salem, and the MBTA will provide bus shuttle service to all stations north of Salem, including Hamilton-Wenham station.

A separate project to install Positive Train Control is also scheduled for this summer along the Newburyport/Rockport train line. It is planned for weekend work starting July 8 and running until Sept. 30. The MBTA will also provide bus shuttle service from North Station to all stations on the Newburyport line during that time.

Revised schedules will be issued but are not yet available for weekend or weekday service, according to the T. The schedules are under development and will be released this week.

The T also urges riders to not to park in Salem because station parking there is limited and reminds customers that parking regulations will be strictly enforced in downtown Salem and neighborhood areas.

Public Meetings Will Outline Plan for Commuter Rail Shutdown This Summer

mbta commuter railThree public meetings have been scheduled on the North Shore during the next two weeks to explain a plan to interrupt service MBTA commuter rail service in Hamilton this summer in order to install Positive Train Control (PTC) systems and make repairs to the Beverly swing bridge.

The work is planned along the Newburyport commuter rail line, which serves Hamilton-Wenham station.

None of the public meetings will be in Hamilton and the closest meeting will be at Beverly City Hall on Tuesday, May 2. A meeting is also planned at Gloucester City Hall on April 26 and a meeting at Newburyport City Hall on May 1. All of the meetings start at 6:30 p.m.

The three public meetings will provide project details, timelines and recommended alternative transportation options.

The PTC project will mean a shutdown in service each weekend from July 8 through Sept. 30. The bridge work will mean commuter rail service will be completely shut down north of the Salem commuter rail station for 28 days, from July 17 through Aug. 13.

Hamilton Town Manager Michael Lombardo said he plans to attend the meeting and advocate for  bus service from each station to Salem – at a minimum.

The PTC project is federally-mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration Rail Safety Improvement Act. PTC is designed to improve safety by preventing train-to-train collisions, over speed derailments and unexpected movement of trains through “open” switches, according to the MBTA.