Happening Now

Driving Governor Dukakis - A Push for Needed 'Regional Rail'

November 15, 2018

A Trip From Mattapan to Boston to Lowell in a 1949 Hudson to Highlight the Need for Unified Massachusetts Rail

Former Democratic Gov. Michael Dukakis, who along with former Republican Gov. William Weld heads the North South Rail Link Working Group, will drive from Mattapan through Boston to Lowell on Friday in a 1949 Hudson, a vehicle that is as outdated as parts of the public transit system in Greater Boston.

At 11 a.m. Friday, Nov.16, 2018, Gov. Dukakis will arrive in the rusty 1949 Hudson at the MBTA station in Mattapan, MA (where the trolleys running everyday are as old as the Hudson). At 1 p.m., Dukakis will arrive in the Seaport District at District Hall at 75 Northern Ave, Boston, at 3 p.m., he will arrive at the MBTA station in Lowell, MA.

This 1949 Hudson is as old as some equipment running every day on the MBTA system,
and newer than much of the T's infrastructure

Joining Gov. Dukakis will be former State Representative John Businger, Vice Chair of the North South Rail Link Working Group, to answer questions about the need for regional rail, the North South Rail Link, and the future of transportation and the economy in Greater Boston with – or without – a link between North and South Stations.

Fixing the MBTA after years of neglect, as the Baker Administration is undertaking, is necessary but not sufficient for the future needs of the economy of Greater Boston.

This 1949 Hudson is a rolling metaphor and is as challenged as the Commonwealth’s commuter-rail system, which for decades has been comprised of separate and disconnected transportation systems. North Station serves Boston’s northern suburbs, and South Station serves the City’s southern and western systems. And never the twain shall meet for passengers, except for a long walk, an Uber or cab ride, or two timeconsuming MBTA connections.

Observe that this 1949 Hudson was the model that was made famous in the popular movie “Driving Miss Daisy”. Honk the horn and the lights dim. Accelerate in the rain and the windshield wipers stop. The Hudson’s windup clock loses five minutes every day. It's antiquated, like th current MBTA system. Citizen commuters suffer with larger systemic handicaps every day on an MBTA system that has not kept up with the times.

Building the North South Rail Link is a big undertaking but a necessary part of a functioning regional rail system that residents of the area deserves. Today the MBTA is running two old systems. A single link between them, in the form of a North South Rail Link tunnel beneath the city of Boston, would serve commuters, increase housing options for people who travel to their jobs, serve the environment, and contribute to decongestion of our seriously overburdened highways and streets.

Dan McNichol, North South Rail Link Working Group
617.319.5690, [email protected]
Twitter: @danmcnichol