Ahhhhh, Swampscott: a town known for its seaside location and tranquility. Does that mean that its Commuter Rail station has beautiful seaside views and charming houses nearby? No? Why not? Ohhhh, okay…when they say “Swampscott”, they really mean “Yeah, the station is technically in Swampscott, but it’s literally right next to the Lynn border.” So…this place may not be as nice as I thought it would be…

One of the station’s parking lots.

Considering that Swampscott Station is in the middle of a dense residential area, it has a pretty impressive amount of parking. There are lots on both the north and south sides of the tracks, adding up to 133 spaces, which get about two-thirds filled on weekdays. The south side of the station features a few bike spaces, as well as some newspaper boxes.

Looking down the platform.

The station itself is…kinda terrible, actually. First, I’ll address the building, which is somewhat charming, but the rest of the surroundings just drag it down. I mean, the platform is really bare with ugly metal barriers and a gross chain link fence across the tracks (which makes it unnecessarily hard to get to the other side of the station, for the record). There are no benches on the outbound side, while the inbound side has some under a generic Commuter Rail shelter.

Oh gosh…

And then we get to the mini-highs. Hooooo boy, the mini-highs. They are completely bare. Absolutely nothing. This presented problems with my train, and presumably many others: it was raining outside, so of course all the passengers were waiting under the shelter way down the platform. Once the train came, everyone had to walk to the mini-highs, which held everything up by at least a minute! The mini-highs are long – there’s plenty of room for shelter and a bench!

An express train speeding through.
The local coming in.

Station: Swampscott

Ridership: Well, you can’t say Swampscott doesn’t get high ridership! On the average weekday, it gets 884 riders, making it the 26th-busiest station on the Commuter Rail. It’s interesting to note how few of those people drive here – it’s a dense neighborhood!

Pros: I know the station is called “Swampscott”, but it’s in a good location to also (and perhaps mainly) serve transit-dependent East Lynn. It offers a good amount of parking for the area, and I like the fact that it has a building, despite the fact that it doesn’t serve much of a purpose.

Cons: Swampscott is uglyyyyyyyyy. Oh, don’t get me wrong, parts of the town are very pretty indeed, but the station is not one of those places. From the concrete of the station embankments to the metal barriers to the chain link fences everywhere, waiting here isn’t a pleasant experience. Of course, it’s made even less pleasant by the fact that the mini-highs are both completely bare and far from the shelter.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Nothing much, to be honest. However, the ocean (not the beach, though) is about a 10 minute walk away, so maybe you’ll find some stuff down there.

Final Verdict: 4/10
Swampscott serves a lot, but it sure ain’t pretty or even functional whilst doing it. Bare mini-highs are a big MBTA pet peeve of mine, especially ones that are far from the station shelters, so Swampscott needs to get it together in that regard. Give your high-level platforms some shelter! As for the aesthetics, it’s unlikely they’ll get an upgrade anytime soon, so we’re unfortunately stuck with them.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates