The commuter rail could soon stop in Kingston and Westerly.
The Rhode Island State Planning Council is considering extending the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s commuter rail that currently travels between Boston and Wickford Junction further into South County.
According to the recently released draft of the Rhode Island State Rail Plan, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation has been studying expanding MBTA commuter rail service from Providence to Westerly since 1994.
The first phase of the South County Commuter Rail project included extending service to T.F. Green Airport, which opened for service in December 2010, and Wickford Junction station, which opened in April 2012.
However, the commuter rail does not service those stops on weekends and provides less frequent service on weekdays than it does from Providence and other points in Massachusetts to Boston.
According to the draft plan, additional service is under consideration “to fill the service gaps” and any added service must be coordinated with Amtrak and freight operations.
Phase two of the South County Commuter Rail project includes exploring to feasibility and cost of extending commuter rail service to five additional stations: Kingston, Westerly, Cranston, East Greenwich and West Davisville.
Kingston and Westerly train stations are already in place and serve Amtrak passengers. New stations for Cranston, East Greenwich and West Davisville are presently under consideration.
The proposed service would build on the 20-mile MBTA rail extension from Providence to Wickford Junction completed in phase one of the South County Commuter Rail project, and would require an additional 24-mile extension to reach Westerly.
However, according to the plan, the proposed service extension to Kingston and Westerly would likely provide intrastate service to the existing and added stations within Rhode Island and not MBTA service to Boston. However, a commuter could in theory take the commuter rail from Westerly to Providence and then Providence to Boston.
According to the plan, phase two of the study also includes looking into potential connections to Connecticut’s Shoreline East commuter rail service.