BOSTON — The MBTA is faced with needing to make safety upgrades, but they also need to reconcile those upgrades with their budget. The result could mean closing down entire lines during some weekends.
The nine lines that could potentially be affected this year and next are: Lowell, Haverhill, Newburyport, Needham, Fairmount, Rockport, Fitchburg, Franklin and Worcester, as well as the Wildcat branch. Simultaneous weekend shutdowns of the whole Lowell and Haverhill lines will begin this July.
The reason for the shutdowns is because the MBTA needs to install anti-collision technology called Positive Train Control, which is mandated by the federal government.
The project will cost $459 million and the MBTA hopes to have it done by 2020. According to the MBTA, reducing services on the weekends would save them money and speed up the project. Weekends draw fewer riders and the MBTA pays a higher subsidy for each ride.
The preliminary schedule released by the MBTA didn't show any changes to the Greenbush, Middleborough, Providence or Kingston/Plymouth lines, but did show as many as 15 weekends without service on the Worcester line in 2018.
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Cox Media Group