MBTA shuttles replace trains for two weeks, starting April 11 | News

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It will become both a bit easier and a bit trickier for riders on the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Line to get back and forth with service changes starting Monday.

The changes are taking place over the next couple of months to accommodate signal, track and bridge work, the MBTA says.

The construction work means shuttle buses will replace trains on specific dates starting Monday.

For Rockport line riders, from April 11 to April 22, shuttle buses will operate between the Rockport and Salem commuter rail stations. Trains will operate from Salem to North Station in Boston. A separate schedule for each time frame can be found at mbta.com.

The good news for riders who use the Rockport and Gloucester stations will be the long-awaited reopening of the Gloucester Drawbridge over the Annisquam River to train service on May 23, as the $100 million bridge replacement project is scheduled to be completed later this year.

The MBTA suspended service over the former drawbridge, which dated to 1911, in April 2020 “due to unforeseen site conditions,” according to the MBTA’s project website. Shuttle buses have been serving the Gloucester and Rockport stations since then.

The T’s safety and reliability work for the Newburyport/Rockport Line includes the replacement of the Commercial Street Bridge in Lynn; signal upgrades at North Station; the installation of Automatic Train Control signal upgrades as part of the Positive Train Control project along the line; and additional track, rail, culvert and improvement projects that will take advantage of the available track outages.

“These infrastructure investments will help modernize the commuter rail network and improve safety, reliability, and resiliency for passengers,” the T said.

The T said Newburyport/Rockport Line riders who typically purchase monthly passes should purchase no higher than a Zone 3 pass for May and no higher than an Interzone 5 pass for June. Riders should also check schedules ahead of time for anticipated travel and arrival times.

To avoid the upcoming construction, riders are encouraged to consider riding the Haverhill Commuter Rail Line, or the Blue or Orange lines or work from home, if possible.

Here are some additional dates when shuttle buses will replace trains at various stations for the signal, track and bridge work on the Rockport branch:

  • April 23-May 8: Shuttle buses will operate between Rockport and West Gloucester. Trains will operate from West Gloucester to North Station. A separate schedule for each time frame will be available on mbta.com.
  • May 9-22: Shuttle buses will operate from Rockport to Orient Heights with a free transfer from shuttle buses to the Blue Line. Chelsea Station customers can use Silver Line 3.
  • May 23-June 5: Trains will operate from Rockport to Beverly. Shuttle buses will operate from Beverly to Orient Heights with a free transfer from bus shuttles to the Blue Line at Orient Heights. Chelsea Station customers can use the Silver Line 3. On May 23, the Gloucester Drawbridge reopens for train service to Gloucester and Rockport stations.
  • June 6 and onward: Normal weekday train service.
  • June 11-12: Trains will operate from Rockport to Salem. Shuttles will operate from Salem to Orient Heights with a free transfer from bus shuttles to the Blue Line.

More on the Newburyport Branch work:

  • April 11-May 8: Shuttle buses will operate from Newburyport to Salem. Trains will run from Salem to North Station. A separate schedule for each timeframe will be available on mbta.com.
  • May 9-June 5: Trains will operate from Newburyport to Beverly. Shuttle buses will operate from Beverly to Orient Heights with a free transfer from bus shuttles to the Blue Line at Orient Heights. Chelsea Station customers can use the Silver Line 3.
  • June 6 and onward: Normal weekday train service.
  • June 11-12: Trains will operate from Newburyport to Salem. Shuttle buses will operate from Salem to Orient Heights with a free transfer from bus shuttles to the Blue Line.

For more information, visit mbta.com.

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