Haverhill Commuter Rail Line to Play Role During Month-Long Orange Line Subway Closing

Trains are parked in Wellington Yard outside an Orange Line maintenance facility on Wednesday. (Chris Lisinski/SHNS.)

The Haverhill commuter rail line will play a role in helping to offset impacts of the MBTA’s decision yesterday to close down the entire Orange Line subway for a month.

The rail line, which picks up and drops off passengers at Oak Grove, Malden Center and North Station, is being suggested as an option. On the south side, the Needham and Providence Line trains will also stop at Forest Hills, Ruggles, Back Bay and South Station.

Gov. Charlie Baker and his top deputies said Wednesday they believe the “unprecedented” step will allow crews to complete as much overdue maintenance work as they would in five years of weekend- and evening-only closures.

“None of this stuff that’s happened is acceptable, and that’s part of the reason why we’re going the distance we’re going to here,” Baker said, addressing a sea of reporters and cameras near the maintenance yard at Wellington Station. “I do believe this will be a major, positive and significant decision for the Orange Line and for the riders over time, but it’s going to be a complicated exercise and we accept that.”

The shutdown begins at 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 19, and continue through Tuesday, Sept. 18, with service resuming the morning of Sept. 19. That will leave the MBTA’s second-most used subway line, which in April provided more than 100,000 trips on an average weekday, shuttered from Malden through Medford, Somerville, downtown Boston and Jamaica Plain.

While Orange Line trains are halted, the MBTA will also deploy a constellation of newly hired shuttle buses to replace some of the service. Riders will not need to pay fares for the shuttles.

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