MBTA Hears Concerns Over Downtown Haverhill Train Station Closing; Could Allow Some Service

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

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority—or MBTA, responding to public outcry over the planned closing of the downtown Haverhill train station, could allow some commuter rail trips or provide busing to the Bradford stop.

As WHAV reported first two weeks ago, MBTA officials confirmed plans to shutter the Haverhill station for 10 to 12 months to commuter rail passengers as part of replacement of the South Elm Street bridge across the river. They did not explain why it would remain open only for freight service and Amtrak Downeaster service between Boston and Maine. Haverhill mayoral Deputy Chief of Staff Josselyn De León-Estrada said this week a meeting with city officials helped spur reconsideration and officials expect a report back in about a week.

“They are looking at alternative service over the original self-diversion plan. They communicated, compared to what happened in other communities, they’re going above and beyond for Haverhill and looking at ulterior service. That’s what we’ll hear back from,” she said. De León-Estrada explained, “One option is busing between the stations. Another option is possibly allowing some MBTA trains to come through during peak hours.”

She said the MBTA continues to say road closings in Bradford will still be limited to one weekend when they move a pre-fabricated bridge into place as WHAV reported in 2022.

Although WHAV inquired earlier of a reported legislative tour, De León-Estrada confirmed that she and legislators walked back and forth between the Haverhill and Bradford stations Monday, April 22, to “document accessibility concerns.” She said staff from the offices of Sens. Barry R. Finegold and Pavel M. Payano and Rep. Andy X. Vargas recorded video of the tour and it was submitted to the MBTA.

“We just really wanted to be able to make the case and say ‘Listen, we don’t really want to talk about impacts, we want to be able to speak from experience, these are the concerns that we have for people who are being asked to self-divert.’ The MBTA was very happy and responsive to that,” she said.

After the MBTA gets back to the city, De León-Estrada said the MBTA will start public outreach. “They want to make sure the public and everybody is very well informed prior to anything taking place.”

Haverhill City Councilor Ralph T. Basiliere said he also attended the tour, particularly to speak up for residents of Ward 1 and veterans living in housing adjacent to the downtown train station. “This is 600 feet from one of the region’s largest veterans’ facilities that depend on this rail line for their tertiary care in Boston,” he said.

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