Longer commute for some riders of the MBTA Commuter Rail

BOSTON — Anthony Johnson is one of many commuters who takes the commuter rail train from Fitchburg every day.

He was disappointed to learn he’ll have to get off the train in Littleton and take a shuttle bus the rest of the way to his work in Lincoln starting March 1.

“100 percent inconvenient, 100 percent,” said Johnson. “I already have to take the earliest train into work and I’ve already had to change my schedule at work since they cut down the weekends.”

The MBTA recently stopped all commuter rail service on the Fitchburg line on weekends, forcing Johnson to stop working Sundays, and now with this new change, he’ll need even more time to commute in traffic on a bus.

“That’s going to cut down my hours even more, it’s not good,” said Johnson.

The MBTA says the change is only temporary for a couple months.

Commuters will have to take a shuttle bus from Littleton to Alewife along the Fitchburg line and the bus won’t go to every stop in between.

From Alewife, riders could take the red line the rest of the way to North Station in Boston.

“I think it’s going to be a headache once people start to find out about it,” said Tayshawn Lowe, who takes the Fitchburg commuter train.

The MBTA says “This diversion is necessary to accommodate installation of Positive Train Control (PTC), a federally mandated anti-collision safety technology.”

This new technology can keep track of the train’s location, direction and speed in real time to alert the crew of any problems.

PTC can also take over and automatically stop the train for an emergency.

Still, the interruption to service won’t be easy.

“When I take this train to Boston it only takes me an hour and a half to get to North Station, so if I do it by shuttle bus, that’ll take me two hours, maybe two and a half hours,” said Lowe. “So knowing that, I’m probably not going to be taking the train as much.”

The MBTA says these changes will add an extra layer of protection against train accidents.

This shuttle service begins March 1 and should wrap up by May 2.

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