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MBTA Commuter Rail Trains

The MBTA operates commuter rail trains from Boston to suburban towns such as Concord, Gloucester, Plymouth, Rockport, Salem, even Worcester MA and Providence RI, allowing you to escape the city on interesting excursions.


About Commuter Rail

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), operator of Boston's five subway train lines, contracts with Keolis to operate thirteen Commuter Rail lines connecting Boston with towns on the North Shore (as far as the New Hampshire state line), northwest to Lowell and Fitchburg, west to Worcester, and south to Providence RI.

MBTA Commuter Rail system map
MBTA Commuter Rail map. Click on the map for access to a larger version.

North Station

Trains depart Boston's North Station (map) for Waltham, Lincoln, Concord, Fitchburg, Lowell, Haverhill, Salem, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Gloucester, Rockport, Ipswich, Newburyport and many other towns north and northwest of the city.

South Station

Trains depart South Station for Worcester, Needham Heights, Forge Park/I-495, Westwood/Route 128, Foxboro, Quincy, Plymouth, Middleborough/Lakeville, Kingston/Route 3, Providence RI, T F Green Airport RI, Wickford Junction RI, and other towns west, south and southeast of Boston.

South Station, Boston MA
South Station, Boston MA.

Riding Commuter Rail Trains

Neglected in favor of highway construction for many years, the Commuter Rail system is finally undergoing some improvements and modernization, though there are still many obsolete train cars, locomotives and other equipment. Not all stations have floor-level platforms for entering the cars (you must climb steep steps into the train), and conductors still circulate through the train punching paper tickets and handing out paper receipts.

Most trains offer free (but unreliable) Wifi service, and most have at least one toilet, but there are no snack/beverage services on trains, and few stations except the main terminals (such as Boston and Providence) have toilet facilities. Plan accordingly.

Bicycles on Trains

Bicycles may be taken aboard all except rush-hour trains for free (but check schedules and Service Updates on holidays and for special events). Look for the bike symbol on train schedules.

There is limited room for full-sized bikes. You should board with your bike into the car closest to the locomotive. Here are the rules for bringing a bike on the train.

Folding bicycles may be taken aboard all Commuter Rail trains if they are completely folded. Bike trailers and any motorized bike (also Segways) are prohibited from Commuter Rail trains.

Special bike coaches are on Newburyport/Rockport Line trains and CapeFLYER trains in the summertime between Memorial Day and Labor Day. More...

The MBTA website has train schedules and fares.