We have received the following information about the upcoming service outages on the Fitchburg commuter rail line. MassDOT is in the process of a major rehabilitation of that line which requires service accommodations:
Weekend Service on the Fitchburg Line is curtailed to support the Fitchburg Line Rehabilitation effort. Currently, weekend service terminates at South Acton Station, this has been the case since June 1st of 2013. Beginning on Saturday September 7th weekend service will be terminated at Brandeis/Roberts Station, at that time there will no longer be weekend service to all Weston, Lincoln, Concord, and South Acton stations (as well as the remainder of the line already out of service). This Brandeis to Fitchburg Weekend service outage ends on November 24th 2013 when normal weekend service returns during the winter months. Additional extended closures of the line are planned for the next two years beginning again next spring (see attached Charts).
The Fitchburg Project entails hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure improvements aimed at reducing trip times and improving reliability. In order to undertake this level of construction, (7 bridges, 4 stations, 9 Miles of new double track, rehabilitation of the signal and grade crossing protection systems, etc.) the project will require some 50 plus weekend shutdowns over the next several years. The MBTA and private carriers available have limited capacity to provide substitute busing system wide at any given time, the scope and length of this project determined that planned outages with no replacement service was the most prudent, predictable, and practical approach to ensure completion in a timely manner.
The MBTA is in the business of providing transportation so the decision to undertake the no weekend service option was not undertaken lightly, the inconvenience to those who rely on weekend service is real and cannot be denied, it is however the best and really only way to undertake a project of this magnitude efficiently. This is the same basic program of weekend service outages that was employed on the Old Colony Commuter lines to the south shore over the last couple of years to allow for its rehabilitation as well.
Here are some helpful resources: