South Acton will be saying goodbye to more than summer this Labor Day weekend. That’s because this weekend will be the last one with commuter rail service to the South Acton Station.
Weekend train service will head only as far west as the Brandeis/Roberts station in Waltham from Sept. 7 through Nov. 17 under plans for a major improvement project along the Fitchburg line.
While the loss of service undoubtedly comes as a disappointment to some, it could have been worse.
According to previous plans, weekend service to stations between South Acton and Waltham would have been shuttered beginning the weekend of Aug. 3. But an edit to the plan allowed South Acton, along with Concord’s two stations, to keep weekend service through the summer.
After Labor Day weekend, when the trains will run as usual, there will be neither train service nor alternate bus service west of the Brandeis/Roberts stop between Sept. 7 and Nov. 17, according to a "Weekend Outage Update" released in July.
The weekend service suspension clears the way for work on MBTA improvement projects along the line, according to a press release from the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company (MBCR).
According to the MBTA website, the commuter rail improvement project is a corridor-wide series of projects meant to enhance safety and reduce transit times along the 50-mile rail line.
Among the benefits envisioned include:
- Modernized infrastructure allowing 80 mph travel speeds
- Increasing service reliability from 83 percent to 95 percent on-time performance
- Replacement or repair of eight bridge structures
- Reduced operating and maintenance cost while attracting new riders
Work has already begun west of Acton, where service stations from Littleton/Route495 through Fitchburg got a head start on the weekend service suspension.