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Mark your calendars. . .
The MBTA has chosen a tentative start date of May 20, 2019 for their commuter rail pilot program in Foxboro, according to Planning Director Paige Duncan.
Next steps involve the town finalizing the feeder bus routes to Gillette that will debut with the pilot CR service and working out the arrangements with GATRA. Track work on the Framingham Secondary is substantially complete and in mop-up now, with Lewis Wye construction and Franklin Main PTC install on-tap for the 2018 construction season.
The extra slack to 5/20/2019 is likely for getting that PTC actually live and activated. Franklin is NOT one of the demonstration lines being held to a 2018 go-live date, and is in the same boat as Needham's just-completed installation: the field equipment gets hooked up and debugged right away for FRA reporting deadlines, but it does not get turned on for real revenue service until they go back later and install the missing cab signal layer required for interfacing with the southside back-office. They'll need the extra construction season for that last step...though cutting in conventional cabs here probably isn't going to require bustitutions and doesn't have as much onerous FRA bureaucracy governing each step in the schedule (other than final drop-dead date when the whole shebang has to be revenue-live) like there is with the PTC-specific equipment and all that radio testing. Thus, that brings us to Spring '19 for projecting a "fail-safe" date for service starts to Foxboro.