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5 things to know about the MBTA’s plan to transform the commuter rail

Lane Turner/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

The MBTA’s oversight board has voted for a “transformation” of the state’s commuter rail system.

Here’s what you need to know about the plans for change, which were included in a number of resolutions approved Monday by the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board.

■  The board said it wants the T’s general manager Steve Poftak and staff to “transform the current commuter rail line into a significantly more productive, equitable and decarbonized enterprise.”

■  The board said it “expects” the system to eventually run trains every 15 to 20 minutes all day in its most densely populated corridors, to be “largely electrified” in the future, and to ultimately resemble rapid-transit subway service.


■  Electrified service would be added to the Fairmount Line, the Providence/Stoughton Line, and a section of the Newburyport/Rockport Line between Boston and Lynn as part of a first phase of the transformation plan. The estimated cost: $1.5 billion.

■  The board urged the Legislature to get behind a series of changes Governor Charlie Baker tucked into an $18 billion transportation bond bill that officials say will streamline the procurement process at the MBTA.

■  The board also voted to have Poftak create a plan for a commuter rail “transformation office” by the last board meeting in January, detailing what staffing and budget it would need and a schedule of work it would pursue over the next two years. “This office shall contain responsibility for all short, medium- and long-term elements of transformation,” the board said.

Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report.