Green Line Extension’s long-awaited Medford Branch opens


Map of Green Line Extension

By Maeve Lawler, Kasteel Well Bureau Chief

The Medford Branch, part of the MBTA’s Green Line Extension, opened to passengers on Monday at 4:52 a.m. Hundreds of Boston commuters, many being Tufts University students, waited at College Avenue Station for the first train to arrive—a crowd so large, not every passenger could fit on the first train. 

The opening completes the $2.3 billion Green Line Extension—a two-part project extending the Green Line from Lechmere to Union Square in Somerville, which opened in March, and College Avenue in Medford. 

At 10:00 a.m. Monday morning, MBTA officials, Governor Charlie Baker, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey, and Mayors Katjana Ballantyne of Somerville and Breanna Lungo-Koehn of Medford gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

The Community Action Agency of Somerville also planned a march on Monday morning to call attention to gentrification and renter displacement caused by rising housing prices along the GLX. 

Since the GLX project started in 2018, there have been several delays, with the Medford branch initially predicted to open in December 2021. MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak announced last month the Medford branch would open on Dec. 12. 

The Medford branch stops at five new stations: College Avenue, Ball Square, Magoun Square, Gilman Square, and East Somerville. It’s expected to carry nearly 50,000 riders a day and gives passengers near Tufts University a direct connection to downtown Boston. 

Trains come every seven to eight minutes, and it takes an average of 26 minutes to get from College Avenue, also known as the Medford/Tufts stop, to Park Street. Alicia Gomes, division chief for the Green Line, told the Boston Globe she hopes trains will eventually come every five minutes. 

As the five new stations don’t have fare gates, the MBTA requests that passengers validate their fares using fare vending machines at the stations.