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Boston's Codman Yard Project to Improve Reliability of MBTA's Red Line

Wed May 25, 2022 - Northeast Edition
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

This aerial view of Codman Yard includes the planned expansion and other improvements. (Photo courtesy of MBTA)
This aerial view of Codman Yard includes the planned expansion and other improvements. (Photo courtesy of MBTA)

A construction contract to expand and upgrade Codman Yard, a rail yard near Boston, has been advertised to bid, it was announced May 20 by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in a press release.

The Codman Yard project is part of the Authority's Capital Program and Red Line Transformation (RLT).

The MBTA is greater Boston's largest provider of public transportation.

The advancements in the rail yard, located south of the city in Dorchester Center, are designed to increase MBTA's capacity and improve the overall reliability and quality of service for all riders.

"Yards are crucial to providing efficient service to the entire system," said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. "They are where we store, maintain and deploy vehicles each day. Improving Codman Yard is the first step towards improving the quality of service for all riders on the Red Line and in the surrounding community."

In addition to storing the vehicles, rail yards also allow the MBTA to perform quality checks, make any necessary improvements and keep the rail car interiors clean without disrupting regular service.

A projected cost for the expansion was not revealed by MBTA officials.

Rail Capacity, Security, Safety to Be Upgraded

Codman Yard currently has 16 storage tracks that can hold approximately 70 vehicles.

The new project is set to build six new storage tracks and replace those that already exist. Expanding the yard with new tracks will allow Codman Yard to park more than 100 cars.

MBTA added that other improvements include updating the inspection pit, the Ashmont double crossover and vehicle wash, in addition to the lighting and power throughout the yard to provide an expanded, improved and fully functioning railroad yard.

"Executing these improvements will bring several benefits to the entire Red Line system," said Angel Peña, the transportation agency's chief of capital transformation. "Our plans to improve and expand Codman Yard [will] increase capacity, site security and safety, and decrease overall noise. As we strive to provide our riders with a more reliable system and the best quality of service possible, these advancements will help us achieve that goal."

The MBTA expects to award the contract this summer and begin construction by the fall, with a projected completion in last few months of 2025.

However, Peña's team is constantly looking for ways to accelerate the timeline to revamp Codman Yard and bring the much-needed improvements to the public sooner, he explained. Before any construction begins, the Red Line Transformation team will hold a public meeting to communicate the expectations prior to the builder mobilizing the site.

Codman Yard Part of Much Larger Effort

Capital Transformation's mission is to transform the transit system by investing in large, long-term improvements to better the quality of service for MBTA users and neighboring communities.

Its capital investments address distinct levels of transformation, which include:

  • Improving safety.
  • Bringing infrastructure into a state of good repair.
  • Enhancing accessibility.
  • Replacing legacy fleets.
  • Increasing passenger capacity.
  • Modernizing rider experience.
  • Expanding service.

The Codman Yard improvements are only one part of MBTA's $8 billion, five-year capital investment plan. Within the evolving program, the agency also is renovating stations, modernizing fare collection systems, upgrading services for its buses, subways and ferries, and improving the accessibility of the entire system.

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