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The Orange Line, at just 11 miles long, starts at Oak Grove in Malden and terminates at Forest Hills in Jamaica Plain, just north of several large population centers, including Roslindale and West Roxbury.

This proposal would extend the Orange Line from its current terminus at Forest Hills, west to Needham, along the existing commuter rail right of way (Needham Line). It would bring new rapid transit to over 100,000 people.

Orange Line Extension

Communities in Need

Roslindale and West Roxbury are 2 of only 3 neighborhoods in Boston without a rapid transit line (Hyde Park being the third). They are currently served by the Needham Commuter Rail Line, which averages just 1 train every 80 minutes on weekdays, and 1 train every 2 hours on weekends. These communities are in desperate need of more frequent and reliable public transportation to connect them with downtown Boston and the rest of the T.

Extending the Orange Line to Needham would eliminate the Needham Commuter Rail Line altogether. This would provide 3 additional benefits:

  1. Free up capacity on the rails between Forest Hills and South Station which are heavily utilized by Amtrak and other Commuter Rail lines.

  2. Free up track space at South Station, which is already at capacity.

  3. Transfer coaches and locomotives to other Commuter Rail lines in need.

  • CONSTRUCTION. The Orange Line Extension would be constructed at the surface level adjacent to existing commuter rail tracks.​ In addition to the standard double tracks, a third track would be built to allow for express trains between Needham and Forest Hills.

  • LENGTH. 7.0 miles of Orange Line track would be added between Forest Hills and Needham. 

  • STATIONS. There would be 6 new stations, with the average distance between stops at 1.2 miles.


  • SCHEDULE. Trains would run every 6 minutes during rush hour and every 9-11 minutes during off peak hours, consistent with the current Orange Line schedule.

  • SPEED. Including time spent stopped at stations, the average speed would be 20 mph.

  • TIME. The travel time from Needham to Forest Hills, making all stops, would be 21 minutes.​


  • HIGHLIGHTS. Needham to Downtown Crossing in 38 minutes; Millennium Park to North Station in 33 minutes; Roslindale to Assembly Square in 32 minutes​; West Roxbury to Back Bay in 22 minutes.

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