Rhode Island now has a fourth MBTA commuter rail station

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The MBTA’s footprint in Ocean State is growing.

New Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

For several decades, the trains ran straight. But not now.

Decades after Rhode Island’s Pawtucket and Central Falls lost passenger rail service — even as MBTA and Amtrak trains continue to ply the tracks on daily trips between Providence and Boston — the two Ocean State cities are once again commuter rail destinations.

On Monday, the MBTA commuter rail service opened its fourth stop in the nation’s smallest state, Pine St. in Pawtucket. 300 on a new $63 million transit complex that officials say will connect the two communities to new economic opportunities.

“It’s an exciting time for us,” Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien recently told Boston.com. “It has been on the table for almost 20 years. … The impact on the community allows the business to grow [and] increasing accessibility and overall housing, and we are very excited.

After four years of design and construction, the trains made their first stop this week at the Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center, where passengers can travel to multiple Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority stops in Pawtucket, Central Falls and Blackstone Valley.

Located on the MBTA Providence/Stoughton line, the new transit center will have 40 stops on weekdays and 18 stops on weekends. Passengers can get a one-way ticket to Providence for $2.75 and to Boston South Station for $12.25.

The vast majority of project funding, $43 million, came from federal funds. Some members of the state’s congressional delegation began advocating for the funding nearly two decades ago.

“This long-awaited station is a key link in the broader economic development strategy for Pawtucket and Central Falls. I am proud to have led the effort over the past two decades to secure federal investment to complete this state-of-the-art transit hub,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who first won federal appropriations in 2004. .statement. “In addition to providing efficient and reliable transportation options for commuters, this will encourage private investment, economic growth and opportunities for the entire region.”

The train station, or rather the train station, isn’t necessarily new to Pawtucket and the Central Falls area.

The original Pawtucket station was built around 1915, but the building closed in 1959. (To this day, the damaged structure cannot be salvaged, according to Grebien, who said the station is currently in receivership as the city works through the legal process to have it removed.)

Although rail service continued, the state cut funding in 1981, downgrading the MBTA south of Attleboro.

Since then, the MBTA’s commuter rail has slowly expanded across the Ocean State, with stations built in 2012 at Rhode Island TF Green International Airport in Warwick and Wickford Junction in North Kingstown.

With the latest addition, Pawtucket and Central Falls are now Rhode Island’s first stop for trains coming from the north – an asset Grebien sees as attracting new residents looking for a lower cost of living. neighboring communities.

“We’re going to push everything forward,” he said. “We’re cheaper, less expensive, less expensive than Massachusetts or Providence. So we see a growth opportunity here. We see people already living here, commuting by train, living here and moving here because it’s so much better and cheaper to live here. … Being the first step is exciting.

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