First Phase Of MBTA's South Coast Rail Plan Projected To Open Next Year

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The project set to restore commuter service to parts of the south shore for the first time in over 60 years is set to open next year.

Phase one of the South Coast Rail project is on schedule to open late in 2023, which will bring commuter rail access to Taunton, New Bedford, and Fall River. The new line will be an extension of the current Middleborough/Lakeville Line, which means instead of running directly north and south, trains will also have to go east to west for a short period.

South Coast Rail Director of Community Engagement Jeane Fox made the announcement during a public meeting on the project.

"South Coast Rail anticipates reaching the midpoint of construction in the spring of this year, with revenue service anticipated for late 2023,' Fox said.

In the meeting, representatives from the MBTA said the move to use the existing Middleborough line is cheaper and will avoid causing any environmental concerns. However, this will also make the commute by train about half an hour longer than it is to commute by car.

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This phase will eventually be replaced by the full build of the South Coast Rail, which will extend the Stoughton Line directly down to Taunton. This part of the project is still in the planning phase as of 2021.

WBZ's Tim Dunn (@ConsiderMeDunn) reports.

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