Letter to the Editor: Newtonville commuter rail design is disturbing

Reading the Newton Beacon’s report of the MBTA design for the new Newtonville commuter rail, I noticed disturbing details. The proposed design would reduce the platform from 800-feet to 400-feet to meet undescribed “parameters provided by the MBTA Operations Control Center.”

It adds, “Due to the shorter platform length, the station will be meant only for high-frequency small train sets,” per Alistair Sawers, Senior Director of Rail Transformation at the MBTA. The reason: Having trains longer than the platform “would be an accessibility issue.”

I do not know of any “high-frequency small train sets” in the present Commuter rail system.

The new proposal reminds me of a design failure Transit Matters exposed several years ago for the Auburndale station to resolve accessibility issues: It  would have limited service to  one or two trains daily. With no small train sets on the Framingham-Worcester line, implementing this new design would mean no trains at all could stop at Newtonville.

Running smaller trains more often would be a great idea for the Framingham-Worcester line. But let’s not start a project that prohibits trains stopping in Newtonville or elsewhere.

Jeff Hecht