New train station in P-town

Officials of the Mass Bay Transit Authority Rail Line have identified a “prefered” site for a train station and layover facility, right in the center of Plaistow. Plans have been discussed for the last few years, but now that they are actually trying to do something, there is some opposition. Unsupportive residents of Atkinson and Plaistow have surfaced, stating simply that they don’t support the proposed construction of a station and will do whatever they can to stop it. Worried that the vibrations and loud sounds caused by a layover yard may damage their homes or keep them up at night, several citizens are voicing concerns. As you drive around the area you may see their red and white “no layover” signs.

This plan to a build a new layover facility and station have been long in the making. In the Summer of ‘13 the NH Department of Transit hired a consultant for $659,000 to conduct various studies; the goal of which were to see if Plaistow would be a feasible candidate for a new station. A wooded site along Joanne Drive is considered perfect, yet an abandoned lot along main street also presents a possibility as the new station and layover yard. Another consideration is to just put a newer, nicer station and layover yard in Haverhill. However, the local Plaistow government would like to keep the station within Plaistow, simply for tax and the benefits that the local businesses will feel. Technically, Plaistow will own and operate the station, bringing in considerable revenue and jobs for the local economy.

Current estimates for project are in the $300 million range, however most of the money will be coming from the federal grants. The project has been in the works since May of 2009 and there is no exact plan for when it is to begin construction. In a recent vote, it passed with 60% approval in Plaistow and Atkinson, but only 40% in Kingston. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in coming months.