Man, for such an important station, you’d think Framingham would be more…grand. I mean, it’s one of the busiest stations on the Commuter Rail and the only unique thing we get is a fancy footbridge? Still, it’s a heck of a lot better than something like Hastings – I shouldn’t be complaining.
|The parking lot out front.|
The station is parallel to Waverly Street, and it has a small parking lot running alongside it. A little further down the street is an old station building that unfortunately lacks a direct connection to the platform. Still, it features a restaurant – “Deluxe Depot Diner” – which is great for morning commuters.
|The alternate exit.|
There’s another exit on the other side of the station from the outbound platform. This is a level crossing over a single track (there are a lot of random tracks in Framingham) that leads to a second parking lot. The lot curves alongside that single track, making the MWRTA affectionately call it the “Banana Lot”. Speaking of the MWRTA, over here they have a…caboose? Nice touch, I guess. They’re also building a third, larger lot alongside the outbound platform, which will hopefully raise the number of spaces up from the current 166.
|Looking down the platform.|
Aside from the mini-highs (which we’ll get to), both platforms at Framingham have alternate waiting areas. The inbound side features a modern shelter with benches underneath, as well as multiple bike racks! There are also two pay phones here, for whatever use that may be.
Unfortunately, the outbound platform doesn’t get anything as good as the other side. Its shelter is a very long walk away from the mini-high platform, and it’s made out of wood. All it has underneath it is a sign, with no seating to speak of. Still, it’s not like many people are travelling outbound from here, is it?
|Up on the footbridge.|
So how do you get between the platforms? Your only option is the station’s huge footbridge, which has a really nice design on the exterior. What’s more, it features both elevators and stairs, while the bridge portion is fairly standard and utilitarian (not that that’s bad). It would be near-perfect if it wasn’t for the fact that the stairs are starting to rust underneath – looks like a case of Savin Hill syndrome.
|The outbound mini-high platform.|
Framingham’s mini-high platforms are fully-featured, more so than a normal Commuter Rail mini-high. On both sides, the shelter extends far enough to include a low-level bench and wastebasket, allowing for more seating. The high-level portion of it features the same amenities, although weirdly, the bench appears to be facing the wrong way in the photo above…I wish I had a better one of the inbound side to see if it has the same quirk!
|No train pictures…at least not of the Commuter Rail variety! Wink-wink.|
Ridership: This is a very busy Commuter Rail station – the tenth-busiest on the system, in fact, with 1,299 inbound riders per weekday! The fact that it gets so many riders despite having a small parking lot shows the advantage of having stations right in town centers (unlike some of the stations further west on the Worcester Line, among many others). But it’s easy to forget that Amtrak comes here too, with its once-daily Lake Shore Limited route to Chicago. Ridership on that is much lower, with 1,963 riders…per year. That’s only about five people per day, with most of those folks heading out to western Massachusetts or eastern New York.
Pros: Framingham gives you all your basic amenities: mini-high platforms, a decent footbridge, and a respectable second shelter on the inbound side. There’s also a bunch of bike parking, while automobile parking is being expanded with the station’s new lot. The station has decent bus connections as well, with six MWRTA routes directly serving the station.
Cons: Okay, that footbridge was built in 2001 – should it really be rusting already? It’s not as bad as that staircase I mentioned at Savin Hill, but it still doesn’t feel safe when you look at it. Other than that, my main problem with Framingham is just its blandness. I dunno, for such a major station, I would expect something a little more interesting.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Yeah…still not a fan of downtown Framingham. I’m sorry, but it’s just not a very exciting place.
Final Verdict: 7/10
Framingham is most definitely a functional station, and it performs its duties well. Fancy aesthetics really aren’t that important on the Commuter Rail, anyway, so wishing for them is a waste of time. However, something ought to be done about those footbridge stairs – I mean, I am not a fan of rusting stuff that could potentially be unsafe!
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