The additional stations are expected to increase ridership and revenues and potentially alleviate the problem of overcrowded buses along the Corridor. The creation of these stations represents the Commonwealth’s commitment to expand rail service as part of the environmental mitigations related to the Big Dig project. The MBTA is investing more than $176 million in the construction of the four new stations, renovation of existing stations, new signals, track upgrades, and the repair of six railroad bridges.
The Fairmount Line opened as the Midland Railroad in January, 1855. After a brief shutdown to remove grade-level crossings in response to an injunction by the town of Dorchester, passenger service ran uninterrupted for the next 88 years. In 1944, passenger service was discontinued due to low ridership levels, but the line continued to support freight service. In 1979, during construction of the Southwest Corridor / Orange Line, The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) temporarily restored passenger service on the Fairmount line to re-route Regional and Commuter trains. This marked the beginning of a community-wide movement to increase transit access for local residents, which resulted in two of the stations that exist today: Upham’s Corner and Morton Street. Upon completion of the Orange Line in 1988, the MBTA responded to continued community and City pressure to maintain service on the Fairmount Line. Over the past 25 years, City and community-based efforts have also given rise to the promise of new stations, better transit levels of service and the revitalization of the Hyde Park, Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury neighborhoods.
In response to the challenges posed by the limited transportation options along the Corridor, a proposal was made in 2000 by a coalition of neighborhood groups, local political leaders, the MBTA Advisory Board, and Mayor Thomas Menino. The big idea: reinvent the existing Fairmount Line as a rapid transit commuter rail hybrid to be renamed the Indigo Line.
A feasibility study commissioned by the MBTA identified the location of four new stations that would provide a higher-quality transit service and “walk-to” proximity for neighborhood residents. These stations include:
Newmarket/South Bay - a destination station located adjacent to the New Market Industrial Area and the South Bay Shopping Center, an area with over $4 billion in annual revenues providing access to over 1,000 businesses and 16,000 jobs (in construction)
Four Corners - between Washington Street and Geneva Avenue, serving high-density residential areas and adjacent Main Streets Districts (in construction)
Talbot Avenue - adjacent to the thriving Codman Square retail district and Codman Square Health Center (in construction)
Blue Hill Avenue - located in close proximity to the Mattapan Square Main Street District (in design)