COVID-19 Takes its Toll on Staff of Haverhill Commuter Rail Line; Weekday Schedules Change

Downtown Haverhill commuter rail stop. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Workers out sick because of COVID-19 means commuter rail service to Haverhill is operating on an adjusted winter schedule for at least two weeks.

On the Haverhill Line, only trains originating or terminating at Reading are cancelled. All remaining Haverhill trains will make all stops. Modified schedules are available at North Station and on Officials suggested some Haverhill riders might benefit from using MBTA Bus 137 as an alternative. There are no changes to the weekend schedules on either line. Keolis Commuter Services operates and maintains the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s commuter rail system.

“We have proactively adjusted the schedule based on projected staffing shortages due to COVID-19 that will be further strained if the number of positive cases continues to surge,” said Abdellah Chajai, Keolis CEO and general manager. “We are making these temporary modifications now in order to avoid last minute cancellations and to enable our riders to plan their trips accordingly.”

Both the Haverhill and Worcester Lines begin reduced service Monday. Because the lines normally operate both local and express service, officials said, they offered the greatest flexibility to adjust schedules so that passengers don’t have a long time to wait for an alternative train.

Normal train service resumes when workforce availability allows.

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