Acton – Then & Now

There has been a train station in South Acton for more than 160 years.  It’s been there so long, its use has almost come full-circle. The first photo on the left is from 1908 and shows the nearly brand new 2nd station. It’s a full service building, with a heated waiting room, a manned ticket window and large awnings in each direction.  Standing on the platform, there are 4 sets of tracks in front; east & westbound mainline to Boston and Fitchburg, a freight siding and the track to Marlborough that is the route of the ARRT. This station was on School Street, more than 1000 feet east of the current MBTA platform and parking lot.

In the 2nd photo, taken in 1965, the station is boarded up and closed.  It eventually burned down and the MBTA moved down the tracks and built the big parking lot and single boarding platform we use now.

Jump forward to 2012 and the preliminary track work for the new RR station starts in July.  On July 21st, commuter trains for 3-4 weekends will stop short of the South Acton platform and passengers bused the rest of the way to Littleton and Fitchburg. So where did the MBTA locate the temporary stop? Back at the old station! As you can see in the last photo, crews have spruced up the old parking lot, put in a set of stairs and restriped the concrete. The weekend passengers may not appreciate the historical context, but rail fans will.

About AssabetRiverRailTrail

Tom Kelleher is the president of the Assabet River Rail Trail 501(3)(c) non-profit and a 25-year resident of Acton MA.
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