North South Rail Link

The North South Rail Link is a proposed pair of 1.5 mile-long tunnels that would connect the MBTA's North Station and South Station.  The Massachusetts Sierra Club has been a strong advocate for construction of a direct link between these two stations for many years. Such a connection would allow for the through running of Amtrak and commuter trains, eliminating the wasteful backup moves that are now a major cause of congestion and air pollution at both terminals.

MassDOT’s current plans for South Station Expansion (SSX) as a stub-end terminal is an inefficient “solution” to its growing congestion. SSX would only provide temporary relief, because it will likely suffice for just a couple decades as happened after the station was expanded from ten tracks to thirteen in the mid-1990s to accommodate the opening of Old Colony service to the South Shore. Any SSX funds should be dedicated to early action on the Rail Link such as underground platforms along the tunnel alignment.

Map showing gap in transit thanks to lack of NS rail link

As former Governors Weld and Dukakis put it in an August 2015 Boston Globe op-ed, "Permitting this one-mile gap to continue — more than 100 years after a legislative commission first proposed that the two stations be connected — isn’t worthy of a state whose rail and transit system should be the best in the nation."

According to the Rail Link's 2003 Draft Environmental Report/Major Investment Study, the Rail Link would result in over 55,000 auto trips diverted daily onto public transportation (pages ES-33 and ES-34). An expanded South Station with a connection to North Station is the optimal path forward for traveler mobility and reduced greenhouse gases. 

A first step is to build underground station platforms at South Station as Phase 1 of the North-South Rail Link, thereby accommodating service on Amtrak's electrified Northeast Corridor while allowing the tracks to be extended north at a later date.


Sierra Club Massachusetts Chapter Transportation Committee, contact Co-Chair, John Kyper
Citizens for the North South Rail Link (volunteer organization brought together by former Governors Michael Dukakis, William Weld, and a coalition of advocates from across the region)
March 2, 2018 Massachusetts Sierra Club Comments on the Draft 2018 State Rail Plan
May 10, 2019 Letter to Governor Baker about North South Rail Link Request for Federal Funding 
May 13, 2019 Letter to Mayor Walsh about North South Rail Link Request for Federal Funding
July 29, 2019 Chapter statement on Rail Link before Boston City Council


September 26, 2019 Poll: Voters back subway-like commuter rail
September 26, 2019 Mass. Residents Want More Commuter Service And Lower Fares, Poll Finds
July 29, 2019 Supporters of North-South rail link rally, testify before City Council
March 7, 2019 What Could [Should] Have Been: A Look back at the 1993 "Central Artery Rail Link Task Force" Report
February 10, 2019 Banker & Tradesman's Editorial Cartoon: North and South Stations, Worlds Apart
January 31, 2019 3 Reasons Why We Should Build The North-South Rail Link
December 11, 2018 MassDOT chooses potential North-South Rail Link option
December 10, 2018 Citizens for the North South Rail Link statement on Feasibility Reassessment
November 20, 2018 Dukakis, Weld urge transportation board to get moving on north-south Rail Link
November 20, 2018 Michael Dukakis says MassDOT overestimating tab for connecting North, South stations
November 19, 2018 Dukakis, Weld make last push for rail link
November 16, 2018 Michael Dukakis rode around in a rusty Hudson to drum up support for the North-South Rail Link
October 19, 2018 Sierra Club response to Rail Link Feasibility Reassessment
October 14, 2018 State's rail link study full of flaws
September 4, 2018 Rep. Seth Moulton: Build the North South Rail Link now
September 4, 2018 Barry Bluestone: Who benefits from regional rail? Car commuters
September 4, 2018 Rachelle G. Cohen: Why the North South Rail Link deserves to die
September 5, 2018 Letters: Yes, no and maybe on the North South Rail Link
July 9, 2018 Gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie pushes for better transportation options
June 21, 2018 Press Release: Sierra Club Massachusetts Chapter Response to MassDOT Report on North South Rail Link
June 21, 2018 Rail link supporters charge state cost study was meant to 'scare the public"
June 20, 2018 Massachusetts Sandbags the North-South Rail Link
June 18, 2018 Study: N-S Rail Link cost at least $12.3b--Dukakis says numbers have 'no relation to reality'
June 18, 2018 North-South rail link would cost $12b, maybe much more, study estimates
June 18, 2018 Linking Commuter Rail to Jobs, Housing, and Opportunity in Eastern Massachusetts
June 7, 2018 State legislature approves $10M for environmental study of North South Rail Link
June 7, 2018 Boston Globe's Jon Chesto on Rail Link
May 26, 2018 Dukakis: Transit 'terrible'
April 10, 2018 Moulton: North South Rail Link has momentum
December 20, 2017 Dukakis pitches the North-South Rail Link to the North Shore Chamber of Commerce
November 30, 2017 Supporters of north-south rail link make pitch in Quincy
October 24, 2017 Moulton, Mass. Business leaders urge bigger study of North South rail link
October 6, 2017 Group sees regional rail potential
October 1, 2017 Back to the Future: Why Filling The North-South Rail Gap is Good for Housing
September 18, 2017 The Crazy Plan That Could Be Boston's Amazon HQ2 Silver Bullet
August 22, 2017 Our view: Keep pushing for North-South Rail Link
August 17, 2017 Study prices out N-S Rail Link
August 17, 2017 Harvard study: North South Rail Link would cost less than thought
Summer, 2017 YouTube: A North South Rail Connector for Boston
July 31, 2017 Standing room only at rail link forum
July 30, 2017 Take long view, build N-S Rail Link
July 10, 2017 Sierra Club letter re. North Station Area Mobility Draft Report
July 5, 2017 State awards $1.5M for Rail Link study
June 9, 2017 Most Mass. congresspeople now on board with North South Rail Link
June, 2017 North Station Area Mobility Action Plan - Draft Report
June, 2017 NSRL flyer
May 25, 2017 Sierra Club letter re. South Station Expansion Draft Environmental Assessment
May 9, 2017 Moulton: South Station expansion massive waste of $2b
April 28, 2017 Sound the whistle: A renewed call to link Boston's two main rail stations
April 25, 2017 Rep. Seth Moulton: Boston rail project would benefit Springfield
April 13, 2017 Moulton pushes North-South Rail Link
April 13, 2017 Congressman Moulton urges business leaders to support North-South Rail Link
March 17, 2017 Boston needs infrastructure upgrades, and that means money
March 12, 2017 Seaport is woefully underserved by transit
March 7, 2017 Charlie Baker's Transit Policy Isn't About What's Best for Boston--It's About His Image
March 1, 2017 Rep. Moulton amps up pressure on governor to study North-South rail link
March 1, 2017 State asks for bids in $2 million North-South rail link study
January 9 2017 North-South Rail Link study still in planning stage nearly 1,000 days after directive
November 30, 2016 Proposed ferry is no substitute for North-South Rail Link
November 11, 2016 Forget the North-South rail link, how about a ferry instead?
November 8, 2016 Riding the rails shouldn't be so frustrating
October 20, 2016 Moulton steps up pressure for a North-South Rail Link
September 29, 2016 North-South Rail Link Has Friends in High Places, But Will It Be Enough?
September 25, 2016 We Need The North-South Rail Link, Not South Statio Expansion 
August 12, 2016 South Station Expansion (SSX) Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) Certificate
August 5, 2016 Sierra Club letter re South Station Expansion (SSX) Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR)
June 22, 2016 Dukakis, Pollack agree on North-South rail link
June 20, 2016 North-South Rail Link would be an investment in core MBTA system, Dukakis says
June 20, 2016 Backers, including Dukakis, worried about future of North-South rail link
June 10, 2016 Baker's clear he's no fan of North-South Rail Link
May 27, 2016 Ltr to Gov Baker from Sierra Club MA re NSRL
April 24, 2016 The High-Tech, Low-Cost World of Tunnel Building
April 12, 2016 Acton Town Hall Meeting: Unified Rail System for the 21st Century: A Presentation on the North-South Rail Link meeting notes
April 19, 2016 Boston rail project could connect entire Northeast Corridor
April 17, 2016 Three developments for three Boston train stations
April 15, 2016 Another tunnel under Boston doesn't sound crazy to Seth Moulton
March 29, 2016 CommonWealth magazine: We need some Frank Sargent political courage
February 16, 2016 Rep. Moulton letter to US DOT Railroad Admin NEC FUTURE requesting NSRL be part of Alternatives Considered
November 20, 2015 Should the state continue to pursue plans for a North-South Rail Link?
November 5, 2015 The Argument: Should the state pursue a North-South Rail Link?
September 25, 2015 Globe South Sierra Club op-ed: "Should the state continue to pursue the plan for a North-South Rail Link?"
Summer 2015 Newsletter of the Association of Public Transportation (endorses NSLR)
August 5, 2015 Globe North-South Rail link is the only Answer to Seaport Gridlock
July 6, 2015 For rail services, downtown sometimes isn't the right place for a terminus
December 31, 2014 South Station Expansion DEIR certificate
December 22, 2014 Letter from Mass. Sierra Club in response to DEIR
May 18, 2014 Sierra Club Massachusetts resolution on South Station expansion
February 23, 2013 Globe article Patrick Pushes South Station Plan
February 28, 2013 Letters to Boston Globe re South Station expansion
December 10, 2013 Letter to MPO re Widett Circle
July 15, 2011 Globe editorial and letter re Worcester trains to North Station
May 2005 The Need to Protect the North/South Rail Link
January 2004 Report download, "Program for Mass Transportation", (Chapter 5C System Expansion 5C-111 (also p. 243))
June 2003 NSRL Major Investment Study - DEIR
March 2003 Principal Conclusions of the NSRL Project MIS/DEIS/DEIR

Additional Links
BPDA: North Station Area Mobility Action Plan
Draft North South Rail Link Feasibility Reassessment Report