Improvements to South Station Could Boost Framingham/Worcester Rail

According to Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Richard Davey, Boston’s South Station is “becoming a choke point in the system and an obstacle to expanded service.” Davey placed a request with lawmakers on October 9 asking them for help with negotiating a deal that has the potential to allow the expansion of South Station.

Before the MBTA can add an additional seven tracks to the existing 13, it must first purchase property owned by the U.S. Postal Service. This piece of land has been the topic of discussions for years. The property is critical for the expansion of the station in its efforts to provide prompt service to commuters traveling through South Station.

The U.S. Postal Service and South Station “have yet to strike a deal,” said Davey, who will be leaving his post as transportation secretary at the end of October. He has asked Transportation Committee chairmen Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) and Rep. William Straus (D-Mattapoisett) for assistance with coming to an agreement. Davey also mentioned that the office is interested in purchasing property that once belonged to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. This purchase would enable the expansion of the North Station rail lines with two new tracks and a center platform.

Following the signing of a transportation bond bill in April, the Patrick administration re-engaged with the Postal Service, offering to build a $350 million mailing facility in the Boston Seaport District. “Frankly, we’re a little stuck,” Davey admits. “We’ve made a number of different proposals that we thought were compelling, that made the Post Office whole.”

The Postal Service has expressed concerns that the new Seaport land would depreciate, resulting in a lower price if it should attempt to sell the property in the future.

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