QUINCY — Red Line riders, weary from lingering delays caused by the June train derailment and disruptive construction projects, gazed with amazement and satisfaction Friday at an unusual sight: a spiffy, modern T stop, as Wollaston Station reopened after more than a year and a half of renovations.
“Yes! Thank God,” Nate Nuñez said to himself as he approached the station, which looked shiny and new. “It looks great, very clean — looks advanced.”
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s $36 million overhaul of the station brought Wollaston in line with new standards for safety, flooding, and other requirements. It also added elevators, meaning the station — and with it, now the entire Red Line — is accessible to those with disabilities.
New signage includes placards in Braille and others with larger text and increased contrast for people who are visually impaired, a T employee said. There are also more fare gates, and the escalators and restrooms are new, too.
The construction project was a hassle for nearby Quincy residents, many of whom took shuttles to nearby stations while Wollaston was closed — or found a different way to work.
“It’s been expensive getting around,” said Nuñez, 25, who said he’s been using Uber and Lyft to get to nearby stops. “It’s like, ‘Aw man, 8 to 9 bucks every single morning.’ ”
Loading up her Charlie Card on her way to an appointment, Barbara Kovalski said it was “about time” the new station opened.
“I kind of liked just jumping on the train and going,” said the Quincy resident, who said she drove much more frequently while Wollaston was shut. The new station, though, looks “beautiful.”
And Ray O’Hare is benefiting from the easier access in the station in a way he might not have predicted when the station closed in January 2018.
“It’s good to have a station that’s now accessible for the baby carrier,” said O’Hare, stepping out of the elevator with his infant daughter, Robin, in the carrier. “It would have been a lot less possible at the old station.”
Meanwhile, repairs to the Red Line’s signaling system, which was severely damaged by the June 11 derailment, are ongoing. The T said last week that workers have completed signal repairs between Broadway and JFK/UMass stations, which should shorten commute times. Repairs continue to the south of JFK, and normal service is expected to resume in October.