Weekend Service Coming Back to Three Commuter Rail Lines

The Kingston/Plymouth and Greenbush lines will run Saturdays and Sundays, and the Needham line will resume Saturday only.

It’s been two years since residents in cities and towns serviced by three different Commuter Rail lines were forced to forego weekend trains running to and from Boston. But starting December 27, those transit woes will be a thing of the past.

MassDOT officials announced on Friday that the agency is restoring Commuter Rail service along the Kingston/Plymouth line, which runs through numerous South Shore communities; the Greenbush Line, which makes stops in Cohasset, Quincy, and Weymouth; and the Needham line, which services several Boston neighborhoods after departing from Needham Center.

Saturday and Sunday service will be rolled out for both the Kingston/Plymouth and Greenbush lines, while the Needham line will only see the addition of Saturday service. The changes reflect what the schedule looked like prior to the MBTA eliminating the weekend transportation options in 2012.

Interim MassDOT secretary and CEO Frank DePaola said the reversal of the T’s decision to put a stop to weekend services for the three lines was based on an increase in rider demands. “We are happy to be delivering weekend service on these three Commuter Rail lines once again,” he said.

Due to budgetary constraints, in 2012 MassDOT and the MBTA made the decision to put the brakes on weekend service for all three lines. The cost-saving measures, which were the result of low ridership, angered residents in the South Shore communities who relied on the trains to get into the city during the weekends for work, or to visit.

The announcement led to people forming groups and coalitions to call for the services to be brought back and offered year-round. State leaders joined the movement, and pushed for the reintroduction of the services on Beacon Hill.

“Families wanting to take a day trip into Boston miss weekend service. Nurses, engineers, service and retail workers, and other professionals who work a non-traditional schedule and rely on the commuter rail to get to work miss the service,” said State Representative Josh Cutler back in July. “By letting the train engines run again on weekends, the [Kingston/Plymouth] line can provide an economic engine for our entire region.”

In October, just months after Cutler lodged that complaint in the form of an editorial, the MBTA announced plans for the restoration.

“In acknowledgement of the will expressed by these customers and constituents, the Administration has committed to bringing back these services,” T officials said in a statement.

Bringing back the services was made possible by a funding boost in the FY15 state budget, according to transit officials. The schedules can be found here.