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ARRA Fact Sheet: Fitchburg Interlocking

Project: Fitchburg CPF-43 Interlocking

City: Boston-Fitchburg

State: Massachusetts

ARRA Award Amount: $10.2 Million

Program: Fixed Guideway Modernization (Rail)


FTA has approved $10.2 million in ARRA funds for the first phase of a massive rail improvement project on the Fitchburg line along the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) 50-mile corridor from Fitchburg to Boston. The line is the longest in MBTA’s system in terms of distance and travel time, and it is the lowest on the time performance records in the MBTA commuter rail system.

The funds are being spent to construct a new universal interlocking (switches that enable trains to move from one track to another) at milepost 43 in Leominster on the Fitchburg Main Line. The project will enable the authority to increase capacity and reliability on the line, allowing trains to easily get around a delay or obstacle. The authority has also been awarded additional ARRA funds to complete double tracking on the line. Both projects combined will boost train speeds up to 80 mph, improve on-time performance up to 12 percent, and reduce operating and maintenance costs.

The Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company (MBCR), which retains a contract to operate and maintain MBTA’s commuter-rail network, began preliminary construction in the fall and hired 15 track laborers to help upgrade this commuter-rail line.