Permitting for Commuter Rail Line Improvements

TRC provided permitting support for the planned improvements to the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad's line between Fitchburg and Boston.



Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail

Project Location


The Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR) operates the commuter rail system for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Massachusetts. The MBCR proposed a set of improvements along the commuter rail line that runs between Fitchburg and Boston (the Fitchburg Line). Collectively, these improvements are referred to as the “Fitchburg Commuter Rail Improvement Project”. “CP-43” refers to the first set of improvements that were required and involves track modifications, the installation of a new interlocking within the existing rail right-of-way, and the installation of signal equipment.

TRC monitored the construction activities for compliance with permit conditions including the:

  • U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Construction General Permit Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP);
  • Leominster Conservation Commission Order of Conditions (OOC); and
  • Lunenburg Conservation Commission OOC.

TRC also developed field checklists based on the SWPPP requirements and the specific conditions outlined in the OOC’s relative to work within wetlands and/or watercourses. TRC was responsible for inspecting the status of site soil disturbance and stabilization, erosion and sedimentation controls, dewatering, proper refueling, emergency spill response, and required permitting agency notifications. Assistance in the identification and implementation of improved erosion and sediment controls were also provided by TRC in an effort to stay in compliance with the various permit conditions.

Since completion, the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line Improvement Project has greatly improved service and reliability to commuters riding between Fitchburg and Boston. It has reduced travel time, improved reliability and increased trip frequency on the Fitchburg Line. Construction of CP-43 at an early stage of the overall project was necessary to maintain the efficiency of commuter and freight service while subsequent repairs and improvements were conducted elsewhere along the line.

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