MBTA begins testing South Coast Rail to restore service between Boston, South Coast


Test trains began running on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) South Coast Rail project on Monday.

The project will restore rail service between Boston and the South Coast and will span six stations.

“The MBTA is deeply committed to delivering the South Coast Rail project while upholding the highest standards of quality and safety before launching passenger service,” MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng said. “We recognize this project is especially important for the Fall River, New Bedford, and Taunton communities, and the surrounding region. Through testing and quality control measures, we are dedicated to providing the public with a reliable and dependable railroad system they can count on.”

Four locomotives have undergone a comprehensive overhaul and 16 modern bi-level coaches have been purchased. Four stations are complete, and the remaining two are nearing completion.

In August, the agency will test the Positive Train Control (PTC) system testing. The technology communicates with trackside signals and automatically regulates a train’s speed to ensure safe stopping distances. Testing will continue through January.

Future testing includes meeting Federal Railroad Administration requirements and final inspections for the track, the signaling system, integration, and safety.

MBTA also will focus on qualifying train operators, maintenance personnel, and other staff.