Commuter Rail Late Night, Weekend Service Ending As T Reduce Service

Photo: Commuter rail service will see cuts in 2021

With the COVID-19 pandemic essentially keeping workers at home and away from crowded public transportation, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority announced it will be making significant reductions to the level of service in the next year.

For Belmont residents, the reduction will be felt by those who travel on the commuter rail out of Waverley and Belmont stations, while those who take buses are being spared at this time.

There will be a virtual meeting on service cuts for the region Belmont is in on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m.

“In order to protect essential service for those who depend upon it, we need to reduce service where there are fewer riders,” said the MBTA in a press release on Monday, Nov. 9.

Commuter rail

The cut in service will impact the Fitchburg line of the MBTA’s commuter rail service. Currently, the commuter rail trains are running at 10 percent of pre-COVID-19 ridership levels, according to the T.

Starting sometime near May 1, 2021, the commuter rail will:

  • Suspend weekend service.
  • Halt service after 9 p.m.
  • Reduce the number of trains during the weekday peak by more than 10 percent.

While Belmont two stations have some of the smallest ridership numbers, they were not on the list of six stations that will be closed due to passenger reductions.


While bus ridership has seen a reduction of 40 percent since March, the MBTA will continue all bus lines running in Belmont with only the 554 (from Newton Center to Waverley) will be “shortened.”

All other routes that travel throught Belmont – 67, 73, 74, 75, 78, – could see possible reduction of service levels if ridership continues “below baseline.”

Starting in summer 2021, the T is planning systemwide changes to buses:

  • Stop all service after midnight althought early service will continue on “essential” bus routes.
  • Reduce frequency on essential routes by system-wide average of 5 percent – will vary by route, high ridership will not be changed.
  • Reduce frequency on non-essential routes system-wide by 20 percent; will vary by route based on ridership.


For Belmontians who use the Alewife and Harvard Square subway stations, the subway system will see all service ending at midnight and a reduction of overall service by 20 percent.

MBTA Commuter Rail Train Struck Man at Brighton Street Crossing


The MBTA Transit Police reported a man was hit by a Fitchburg-bound commuter rail train at the Brighton Street crossing at approximately 9:10 p.m. on Thursday, March 8.

The Transit Police, which has jurisdiction on MBTA property, said the man, believed to be in his 60s, suffered life-threatening injuries. Belmont Fire and Emergency Medical Service treated and transported the victim to an “area hospital.” 

While the incident is under investigation, foul play is not suspected. 

The Brighton Street crossing has seen its share of incidents including a man killed by a train in February 2009 and a woman seriously injured after her vehicle was caught between the gates in December 2016. 

New Thayer Road Landmark: A 75 Foot Pole Thanks To MBTA

Photo: MBTA in Belmont

It will be easier to find Thayer Road next year if the MBTA has its way.

The out-of-the-way road – two roads as it splits half way down the street before entering Waltham – behind Sycamore Street on the western edge of Belmont could soon have its own landmark as the regional transportation system is proposing to place a 75 feet tall monopole on its right-of-way next to the Fitchburg line commuter rail tracks. 

Since the pole will be on MBTA property, it is exempt from local zoning bylaws. 

According to interim Belmont Town Manager Phyllis Marshall who spoke before the Board of Selectmen on Monday, July 31, the MBTA isn’t singling out Belmont as it is planning to install 300 of the poles in 60 communities along all its commuter rail lines to improve the WiFi and internet service on its trains. One mitigating factor in Belmont: the rail bed is about 20 feet below grade so the pole’s height will appear approximately 55 feet tall. 

Currently, any construction associated with the $150 million project – which was finalized between the state and a private company which will share in revenue from sponsorships, infrastructure leasing, and a premium wireless service – has been put on hold. After a growing number of communities on the North Shore protested the planned poles, a 30-day review was initiated by the MBTA to hear more comments on the project. 

After a growing number of communities on the North Shore protested the planned poles, a 30-day review was initiated by the MBTA to hear more comments on the project. And two weeks ago, the Massachusetts congressional delegation asked the Federal Communications Commission to “carefully” review the T’s application. 

But Marshall said the review will soon be completed. It is unknown when or if the project will come to Belmont.

Offering his opinion, Selectmen Chair Jim Williams wondered why a new installation for internet service is needed as his smart phone works just fine on the trains.

Traffic Factor in Commuter Train/SUV Accident That Left Woman Seriously Hurt

Photo: (credit: Anna Meiler/CBSBoston)

Belmont’s increasingly congested streets appear to have played a factor leading to an early morning collision between an SUV and an MBTA commuter train at the intersection of Brighton Street and Blanchard Road that left a women critically injured at 8 a.m., Friday, Dec. 9.

While MBTA Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan said at a press conference “we don’t want anyone to jump to conclusions” why the black late model SUV was partially on the tracks, eyewitnesses reported in several media outlets the vehicle was stuck in heavy traffic and could not move when the crossing horns and lights were activated as the inbound train from Fitchburg to Boston’s North Station approached.

Despite the claims of witnesses, Sullivan said “preliminary investigation says that it was not a traffic jam” at the time of the collision. 


(Anna Meiler/CBSBoston)

Sullivan said a 58-year-old female was operating the vehicle with her 10-year-old son and two brothers, 11 and 6, as passengers.

Unable to move off the tracks, the woman opened the car doors and removed her son and the 10-year-old from the car when the vehicle was struck in the right rear section. The car was violently spun around hitting the woman who sustained her serious injuries.

The six-year-old who was still in the SUV when it was struck was uninjured as were the 11 and 10-year-olds.

Sullivan said the woman was rushed to emergency care to Beth Israel Hospital. The three boys were also taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Belmont Police and Fire reached the accident scene minutes after the incident. Brighton and Blanchard were closed for approximately three hours after the crash.

Morning and afternoon traffic through Belmont has become increasingly congested as commuters bypass the Fresh Pond/Route 2 interchange and elect to cut through Belmont heading to and from the western suburbs.

Brighton Street Closed at MBTA Rail Crossing From Saturday Until Monday AM

Photo: The MBTA track crossing at Brighton Street.

The reconstruct of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority commuter rail grade crossing at Brighton Street will require a small but important segment of the road to be closed for more than 48 hours, requiring traffic to be detoured through Belmont Center, according to a press release from the T.

In addition to the temporary road closure, the release said work to the rail line will require the MBTA to suspend weekend service on the Fitchburg line until Nov. 22.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this work and may cause. It is critical that these major construction efforts be undertaken over weekends and some nights when the track is taken out of service. These improvements are essential to the rehabilitation of the Fitchburg Line,” said the release.

At approximately 1 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, Keolis Construction will begin the reconstruction work, closing the roadway to vehicular traffic until 5 a.m., Monday, Oct. 19, with the completion of the paving of the roadway.

Police details will be in place to mitigate any traffic issues, according to the MBTA. Access to the nearby neighborhood be residents and businesses will be maintained throughout construction by the detour.

More information on the weekend service suspension can be found at

Questions concerning the project, please contact us via email at MBTA Fitchburg Project email – or via telephone at MBTA Fitchburg Project Hotline 617-721-7506.

MBTA Suspends Commuter Rail Service at 7PM, Buses Continue to Run

The latest snow storm has officially defeated the rails.

All MBTA subway and commuter rail services will be suspended at 7 p.m., according to the MBTA. The stoppage will impact the Belmont and Waverley stops on the Fitchburg commuter line. It will also effect Belmont residents who travel to and from Harvard and Alewife stations on the Red Line.

Limited T bus service will continue until the end of regular service hours, but customers are advised that connections to subway and commuter rail lines will not be available.