Trolley talk

Emily Molla, an early-morning rider of the trolley, makes a comment, while Rick Colon of MassDOT looks on.

About 55 people with a vested interest in the Mattapan High Speed Trolley Line turned out to learn more about the MBTA’s proposal to make major improvements to the line and give their opinions.

The historic trolley line, which was once in danger of being shelved, is now slated for $7.9 million in repairs to its 70-year-old trolley cars, an anticipated first step in the trolley’s rehabilitation.

The meeting also discussed the options contained in a $1 million study by the MBTA and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) of the line’s infrastructure.

The goals of the options are to improve handicapped accessibility, safety, and increased capacity with the least possible impact on the service at its eight stops as it winds its 2.6 miles from Ashmont Station in Dorchester, through Milton and Mattapan.

“These are exciting times. This is good news,” Rep. Daniel Cullinane told those gathered at the Milton Council on Aging on April 2 during one of three public meetings.

Cullinane called the trolley a lifeline for the 6,600 riders who take it, noting that it saves valuable time to the Red Line and provides access into Boston.

“First and foremost, this is an issue of transit equity,” he said.

Part of the good news is that running buses on the line was no longer being considered, Cullinane pointed out.

“Everyone, loud and and clear, time and time again, has said they want this historic trolley line to be preserved, but they want trolleys as the vehicles,” he said.

Cullinane said the entire legislative delegation and town officials have been “in the same boat, rowing in the same direction.”

Erik Stoothoff, chief engineer for the MBTA, presented the options and said that the $7.9 million will be used to make improvements to the 10 trolleys that are “going on their 70th birthday.” Those trolleys are termed Presidential Conference Committee (PCC) trolleys.

For the full story read the April 11 issue of the Milton Times.

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