Gillette MBTA Station

This rail stop near Gillette Stadium is now used just for trains carrying fans to events. (Staff photo by Mark Stockwell)

FOXBORO - The final word on whether selectmen will agree to support a pilot program for daily commuter rail service to Gillette Stadium has been delayed at least two more weeks.

After discussion of the program, which included many questions about a possible train layover station in town, selectmen Chairman David Feldman agreed at last week's board meeting more information is needed.

The board will invite the state transportation and MBTA officials to give a presentation at the next meeting.

The board's support for a commuter rail stop at Gillette Stadium appeared to be a done deal, after it voted 4-1 in November to give its support to the program, provided certain conditions were met, including no layover station.

However, the MBTA said last month layover facility in Foxboro could not be ruled out if permanent rail service is approved.

In a public comment period at last week's board meeting, most residents spoke in favor of selectmen continuing support for the pilot program, including some who live on or near North Street, a neighborhood where a layover station might be sited.

"That's what we need to develop Route 1," said Ellen Davis of North Street.

However another North Street resident, Ed Lawton, questioned whether there was enough parking available to support the program.

Some 500 Gillette Stadium parking spaces are to be set aside for train parking.

"I don't think there's enough parking down there to take 500 parking spaces out of service," Lawton said.

Other residents wanted to know more about the layover station and what it might entail.

Feldman said that he hadn't known much about layovers before.

"I reached out to the MBTA," Feldman, and he was sent to Scituate, where there is a layover station.

Feldman said the trains in Scituate do not idle overnight, unless the weather drops below 10 degrees. He also said that he went to a neighbor's house.

"He said they don't really hear the train," Feldman said of the neighbor, also noting a 14-foot sound wall at the facility.

Selectman Jim DeVellis, however, who voted for the pilot program after the no-layover condition, said that he had a different experience in Newton with the Woodland Train Station.

"These people were past angry," speaking of the neighbors there, saying that the MBTA had refused to listen to their concerns with noise in the middle of the night.

"It was a miserable group of meetings that I went to," he said. "And there was no resolution."

DeVellis said that he ultimately supported the project, but expressed distrust of the MBTA.

"I trust the Kraft Group, I do not trust the MBTA answering the phone once this thing is done," he said.

Selectman Ginny Coppola, the sole dissenter in the original vote to approve the pilot, continued to express opposition to the project, citing the layover as the reason.

Both Coppola and DeVellis said they wanted to talk to the MBTA about layover plans.

"This board has no information," he said.

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