Train and Economic Health

I know many of us in Newburyport complain about all the new folks that have moved to Newburyport in the last ten years, how much development there has been, and how high real estate prices have gotten in our city. Although real estate prices have come down in Newburyport, they haven’t plummeted the way they have in other cities and towns all across the United States.

Part of the multi layered reason that this has been true is the train to Boston, which had been discontinued in 1976 and arrived once more in October 1998.

An article in The New York Times written in August 22, 1999 talks about how the train was an incredible boost to the economy when it was announced, even before its arrival.

A recent article in The Boston Globe in February 17, 2008 praising Governor Patrick Duval’s potential commuter rail services to Fall River and New Bedford had this to day:

“Experience in other Massachusetts cities where commuter rail service has been restored since 1994 – Brockton, Newburyport, and Worcester – demonstrates that train service to the Hub can be a big shot in the arm economically.”

I remember hearing that the commuter train was finally going coming from Boston in 1997 and thinking that things would really take off in Newburyport, because it would feel like Newburyport was intrinsically linked to Boston. I had no idea how much they would take off, and things have taken off big time–vast understatement.

Could the train to Boston fizzle out completely? Yes, you bet. It’s happened before.

The Newburyport Daily News reports:

“By the early 1970s, only two trains a day ran between Boston and Newburyport, one inbound in the morning and a single one outbound at the end of the workday.

In 1976, the T discontinued service completely. It did not resume until 1998.”

To limit the commuter train from Newburyport to Boston in any way would really hurt Newburyport economically. I would urge everyone to get in touch with the MBTA and protest. Please press here to find out how to do that.