The Orange Line, at just 11 miles long, terminates at Forest Hills (Jamaica Plain), just north of several large population centers, including Roslindale, West Roxbury, and Dedham.
This proposal would extend the Orange Line from Forest Hills, creating 3 new branches.
The first branch would run 7.0 miles west to Needham, along the existing commuter rail right of way (Needham Line).
The second branch would run 7.4 miles south to Westwood, along the existing commuter rail right of way (Providence Line).
The third branch would largely follow the same route as the Westwood branch, veering west to Dedham, along the existing commuter rail right of way (Franklin Line).
Orange Line Extension
Roslindale and West Roxbury are 2 of only 3 neighborhoods in Boston without a rapid transit line. They are currently served by the Needham Commuter Rail Line, which averages just 1 train every 80 minutes on weekdays. 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:
Free up capacity on the rails between Forest Hills and South Station which are heavily utilized by Amtrak and other Commuter Rail lines.
Free up track space at South Station, which is already at capacity.
Transfer coaches and locomotives to other Commuter Rail lines in need.
Hyde Park is 1 of only 3 neighborhoods in Boston without a rapid transit line. It is served by the Providence Commuter Rail Line which averages 1 train every 48 minutes on weekdays.
University Station is a 120-acre mixed-used development "mini-city" in Westwood featuring over 2 million square feet of new offices, stores, restaurants, and housing. The 1st phase opened in 2015, with additional phases planned or under construction.
The Orange Line Extension would provide much needed reliable and frequent public transportation connecting Hyde Park and the burgeoning Westwood mini-city with the rest of Boston and the T.
An offshoot of the Westwood Branch, the Dedham Branch would provide Orange Line service to the town of Dedham, the always congested Providence Highway, and the ever-growing area around Legacy Place.
Riders of the Franklin and Providence Commuter Rail lines would see higher speeds and faster trips to and from Boston through the elimination of several closely spaced commuter rail stops: Hyde Park, Readville, Endicott, Dedham.
CONSTRUCTION. The Orange Line Extension would be constructed at the surface level adjacent to existing commuter rail lines.
LENGTH. 16.6 miles of track would be added south and west of Forest Hills.
STATIONS. There would be 13 additional stations with the average distance between stops at 1.3 miles.
SCHEDULE. Trains would run every 10 minutes during rush hour and every 18 minutes during off peak hours from Needham, Dedham, and South Westwood.
SPEED. Including time spent stopped at stations, the average speed would be 20 mph.
TIME. The travel time from Needham to Forest Hills would be 21 minutes; from South Westwood to Forest Hills would be 22 minutes; from Dedham to Forest Hills would be 20 minutes.
HIGHLIGHTS. Travel time from Needham to Downtown Crossing would be 38 minutes; Dedham to State Street in 39 minutes; Hyde Park to North Station in 31 minutes; and Roslindale to Assembly Square in 32 minutes.