Plaistow Ready to Kill Commuter Rail Extension

The Plaistow, N.H., board of selectmen have formally requested a “no build” recommendation on a proposed Haverhill commuter rail line extension to the state’s executive council, transportation officials and local legislators.

In a March 18 letter to N.H. Executive Councilor Christopher T. Sununu, released Tuesday, selectmen recommend the N.H. Department of Transportation “conclude that a ‘no build’ be selected at this time for the recommended option for the Plaistow MBTA study.” The town panel’s request comes following its unanimous vote and town election citizens petition vote against a proposed commuter rail station and train layover facility off Joanne Drive in the Westville section of Plaistow.

“Based on the vote at this year’s town meeting and a unanimous vote of the Plaistow Board of Selectmen on March 16, 2015, we request your support for a ‘no build’ preferred local option for this study,” the board said.

Copies of the letter to Sununu were sent to N.H. Senate President Charles Morse, acting Department of Transportation Commissioner Jeff Brillhart, the Plaistow MBTA Study Project Advisory Committee and state Representatives Norman Major, Sherm Kellogg, William Friel and Jeffrey Oligny.

Recently, Plaistow Town Clerk Maryellen Pelletier told WHAV the citizens petition vote is non-binding while another ballot question in which voters rejected a special town meeting on the issue could push back a final vote to next year’s town election. Town selectmen, according to Pelletier, have indicated they want the public to vote on the matter.

The Plaistow Commuter Rail Extension Study group recommended a plan known as Alternative 2, for a commuter rail station and to relocate an existing layover facility near the Bradford commuter rail station in Haverhill. That location has been subject to complaints from neighbors over noise and foul smells from idling trains.

The proposed Westville facility’s projected total capital cost would be $50.5 million and is proposed to be funded by “a federal grant & Massachusetts matching funds; no capital or operating costs anticipated to be paid by either New Hampshire or the Town of Plaistow,” according to study documents.

The study group considered three alternative site plans, including one that proposed a layover station on the Haverhill side of the state line, parallel to the upper Hilldale Avenue industrial park, and a separate commuter rail station at the Westville Road side of the rail line. A third alternative would place a combined facility off the Main Street railroad crossing near the town center.

3 thoughts on “Plaistow Ready to Kill Commuter Rail Extension

  1. I really wish the citizens would consider the many local homeowners that presently commute to Boston for work! The t coming up to Plaistow would help many people access better paying jobs and maintain better incomes into the area. I think the “no” vote is short sighted.

  2. Time to triple monthly parking fees for NH commuters. They share none of the cost, maintenance, leave that to the suckers in MA. All excess fees to go to the T, and the T only.

    • We could always put a toll booth right on the border to increase revenue from MA residents wanting to come over for tax free shopping. Imagine the revenue!!!!