Reader Opinion – “Re-opening the East Lynn Commuter Rail Station”

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by Ted Chambers

– Here is a little known fact. For nearly 80 years there was a commuter rail station in East Lynn between the stops in downtown Lynn and Swampscott. If one is headed down Chatham street toward the beach, the station was located on the train bridge just past Brookline and Parrott Streets. The stairs going up to the old platform are still there, though they are fenced off so that no one can get up to the tracks.

According to the State Transportation Library, the East Lynn Station was open from 1880 until June of 1959, and from 1885 until 1949 there was a ticket agent at the station. The station was closed in June of 1959 when the B&M railroad discontinued rail service to Marblehead.

At a recent mayoral debate sponsored by the East Lynn Neighborhood Association, I asked all three candidates if they would be willing to ask the MBTA to re-open the East Lynn Commuter Rail station on Chatham Street. All three candidates said that they would.

And given current trends in energy prices, the connection between the city’s isolation and its economic woes, and the persistent inequity in commuter service provided to the city of Lynn – as compared to other communities – I believe that there are a number of compelling reasons why the station should be re-opened.

Consider the following:

1. Energy prices continue to rise. Improved access to commuter rail service will help decrease automobile traffic and emissions.

2. The City of Lynn’s isolation has contributed to our economic woes of the last 30 years. Increased commuter rail service will help make Lynn more    accessible to Boston and points north.

3. The MBTA has plans to extend service to downtown Medford, Fall River, New Bedford and the TF Green Airport in Rhode Island. There are also plans to significantly upgrade service to Worcester and Haverhill. Unlike these projects, opening another station in Lynn won’t require massive expenditures or building new infrastructure.

4. Lynn is the largest community on the north shore MBTA route (with 90,000 residents), and East Lynn is one of the most densely populated neighborhoods on the route (15-30,000 residents per square mile). And yet the city has only one commuter rail station that is open to the public.

5. Beverly has 35,000 residents and 5 commuter rail stations. Two stations are located half a mile apart and serve a neighborhood with fewer than 1000 citizens per square mile.

6. Reopening the station will improve the neighborhood economically helping to make the case to extend the Blue Line to downtown Lynn.

7. Residents from Lynn Beach and Diamond District all the way to Lynn English High school will be able to conveniently walk to the commuter rail.

Though elected officials in Lynn have indicated a willingness to approach the MBTA on this issue, it makes some sense to engage residents of the neighborhood and the city in this discussion from the very beginning. Please sign this petition and let’s work together to convince the MBTA to improve service to the residents of Lynn. Sign the petition here:
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Ted Chambers

I have heard a few folks mention the idea of opening the GE stop to the general public, which I think is a great idea. That would of course require some serious discussion and planning with GE and the MBTA, but on the face of it – it doesn’t seem like it would require much by way of money from the MBTA (ie. taxpayers). It might require moving the stop back toward downtown a little ways so that it is closer to the back of the building that used to be home to Local 201 and then the Ford Annex.… Read more »

Given the headline of today’s Item (Blue Line to Lynn Extension Funds Nixed), maybe we should focus our efforts on something like this. I would like to see us get more use out of the already existing Commuter Rail stop in Central Square too. Perhaps if there were more quality places to go and things to do and places to work in Central Square, this might happen. I’m certain that the Downtown Lynn Neighborhood Association will be lobbying hard to influence more intelligent development of downtown. Other neighborhood groups should be interested in helping. Someone’s got to do it, as… Read more »

Steve H.

This is a great idea — someone should have thought of this a long time ago!

I signed the petition, and will make sure to ask my state Senator and Rep., the Mayor, and town elected officials to make this a priority!