Usually when a station name has “north” (or any other direction) in it, you expect there to be a station in the center of town, as well. Unfortunately for Leominster, it’s stuck with this northern park-and-ride station. Luckily, North Leominster is a pretty good northern park-and-ride station, so the city doesn’t have to worry.
|The inbound boarding platform.|
The high-level boarding platforms at North Leominster are pretty interesting for the Commuter Rail. It’s not often you see bright green shelters like this. I think they look pretty good here, aside from a few rusting issues. The only real problem is that the boarding platforms don’t have benches! Seriously? Wasn’t this station renovated in 2014? You’d think benches would have been at the top of the priorities list!
|The station…viewed from above.|
At least there are benches near the boarding platform. Well…one on each side. Other than that, most of the platform is bare, aside from some wastebaskets and station signs. There’s an entrance to the parking garage on the inbound side right near the boarding platform, which is great, but we’ll talk about the garage later.
|The platform…from ground level. Not as exciting…|
While the inbound side of the station is mostly right next to the parking garage (aside from a nice view from the boarding platform), the outbound side is right next to some woods. Okay, some woods filled with strange and weird litter, but woods regardless. At one point you can even see a small stream trickling below the station!
|Further down the inbound platform.|
The only place where you can go between the platforms is a pedestrian level crossing way down at the other end of the station. There are also some amenities on the inbound side here, including another shelter and a bunch of newspaper boxes. In addition, there is some sort of speaker thing, as well as some bike spaces and another entrance to the parking garage.
|Speaking of which…|
You know a station has a large demand for parking when it gets an entire garage! Well, okay, no you don’t…*cough* Lynn. Luckily, this station does have strong demand for parking, seeing as its 436-space garage gets 85% filled on weekdays. This is probably because the station is quite close to Route 2 and I-190, giving it easy access from highways.
Of course, since this is a parking garage, it also has a roof. And since it has a roof, it also has a fantastic view! Yes, the view from the North Leominster garage is especially cool, since the area around it is somewhat mountainous.
Since it’s served by two MART bus routes (running clockwise and counterclockwise around a loop), North Leominster also has a bus area. Unfortunately, it has no signage from the platform. Also, and more importantly, it doesn’t have any benches or even a sidewalk. That’s right, there’s literally just a yellow-striped line signifying where to wait. I’m sure very few people take the MART from here, but it might help ridership to have a somewhat presentable bus facility!
|A train leaving the station.|
Station: North Leominster
Ridership: Okay, so in 2013, the station averaged 313 weekday daily inbound riders, but I’m 100% sure it went up since then, considering that 85% of 436 (the number of filled parking lot spaces) would be around 370 people. Plus, that doesn’t account for riders who might come to the station by other means, although I’d imagine that amounts to a much smaller number than car traffic.
Pros: A huge parking garage that actually gets used! Plus, the platform is generally quite nice, and I like the style of the two boarding platforms. Having an entrance to the garage right near the inbound boarding area is convenient for people who have to catch trains quickly.
Cons: I have some qualms with the platform, such as the fact that there are no benches at either of the boarding areas. Also, having only one level crossing over the tracks is annoying – another one near the boarding platforms would make journeys a lot easier. Finally, the bus area is a complete joke.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Leominster was the birthplace of Johnny Appleseed! They, um…kind of shove it in your face, as in every street sign has an apple on it. It has to be said, though, that other than this interesting tidbit, Leominster isn’t the most interesting of cities. Sorry, Leominster…
Final Verdict: 6/10
I was originally gonna give this place a much better score, but my issues with it add up. Putting benches on the boarding platforms is an easy fix, after all, and that could raise this score up to an 8! The level crossing issue would be harder to solve, while this station really needs a proper bus area. Even a single bench would be much appreciated. And maybe it would improve MART ridership from here! But still, you can’t beat the ultra-convenient park-and-ride garage
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Having been to North Leominster before they did the upgrades, it's a nice change.