Millis Commuter Rail Extension Feasibility

In March 1998 a Millis Commuter Rail Extension Feasibility Study was conducted by the Central Transportation Planning Staff , and arm of the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization . The 116-page report evaluates the prospect of a commuter rail extended from Needham Junction all the way to Millis, addressing ridership forecasts, capital costs, operating costs and revenues and operational issues. The conclusions were somewhat indefinite, but not enthusiastic. The conclusion began with the following paragraph:

A commuter rail extension to Millis from Needham Junction would be feasible from an operations standpoint but would produce limited benefits for the costs involved. At 1996 travel levels, stations on a Millis extension would serve about 1,210 inbound boardings on a typical weekday if all service were provided by trains that also stopped at all stations on the Needham Line from Needham Junction through Forest Hills. Of these riders, about 425 (35%) would be new transit users. The remainder would be diverted from other transit services. If Millis trains made no stops on the Needham Line except Needham Junction and Hersey, extension boardings would increase to 1,360 per day, of which 545 (40%) would be former auto drivers or passengers. Combining Millis trains with Needham Heights trains between Needham Junction and Boston would reduce extension boardings to 1,150 per day, including 365 new transit users. The number of new transit users would increase to about 535 with local service, 685 with express service, or 455 with combined trains by the year 2020. A further extension beyond Millis to Medway would be much less feasible because of the present condition of the former rail right-of-way, and would attract no more new transit riders than an extension terminating in Millis.

Copies of the report can be ordered from the CTPS web site.