USA: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority opened the Medford branch of its Boston light rail Green Line Extension for revenue service on December 12.


Several hundred travellers gathered to ride the first southbound service formed of two articulated LRVs which departed from the new terminus at 04.51, ahead of further celebrations later in the day.

The GLX Phase 2 extension was formally inaugurated by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Lt Governor Karyn Polito with a ribbon-cutting at Medford/Tufts station attended by state Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler and MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak as well as local community representatives.

Running north from a junction with the previously opened Union Square branch north of Lechmere, the 6 km Medford branch shares the alignment of MBTA’s Lowell commuter rail line.

It adds five stations to the cross-city light rail route, at East Somerville, Gilman Square, Magoun Square, Ball Square and Medford/Tufts.

First authorised in 1991 with an expected opening in 2005, the extension was eventually delivered by the GLX Constructors joint venture of Fluor, The Middlesex Corp, Herzog Contracting and Balfour Beatty Infrastructure with lead designer STV under a contract awarded in November 2017. The project has cost US$2·3bn to complete.


MBTA General Manager Stephen Poftak described the completion of the GLX project as a ‘remarkable accomplishment’.

As well as the two branches to Union Square in Somerville and Medford, the package included a relocated station to replace the former terminus at Lechmere and a new LRV depot near the junction of the two branches. The Union Square branch opened for revenue service on March 21.

The Medford line is served by E Branch LRVs running to and from Heath Street, which previously operated to Union Square. That branch is now worked as an extension of D Branch services from Riverside, which previously terminated at North Station.

‘We are pleased today to bring the Medford Branch into service after years of planning and co-ordination’, said Baker. ‘The Green Line Extension will have a transformational impact on the cities of Somerville, Medford and Cambridge, by providing the region with access to important public transit. This project is the product of a collaboration of federal, state, local, and community partners, and will bring economic growth and improve opportunities to education and jobs for many years to come.’

Poftak added that the opening ‘marks another remarkable accomplishment for the MBTA after many years of hard work and billions of dollars in investments’.