Another one from Mike N. – thanks, Mike!
Ashland, Ashland, Ashland. The one interesting thing about this station is that it exists. Yep, this will be a boring one.
Well, the first thing I saw at Ashland was a warning for high speed trains. But that doesn’t make any sense. Almost all of the scheduled MBTA trains stop here, and CSX is only going 20-30 mph anyway. So, why the sign?
Ashland’s inbound platform is pretty basic. There’s one shelter aside from the mini high that has a bench and a schedule under it. Scattered throughout the platform are numerous benches and wastebaskets. The walk from the shelter to the mini high isn’t bad, so that’s a plus.
Ashland’s mini highs are small, with a bench, trashcan, and stairs and ramp to go to the outbound side. The mini highs and stairs are very grimy and the walkway is rusty, so it can be a disgusting wait.
Ashland’s outbound platform is very similar to the inbound side, with a small, dirty mini high, and a long platform with a shelter and scattered trash cans. On both sides of the footbridge, there are random benches on each level and there’s one box on each side that’s locked. Seems pretty pointless – maybe it’s for Keolis employees. Ashland also has plenty of parking, with 678 spaces spread out on both sides. There is also a driveway on the inbound side that goes up to a bridge for drivers, but when we went that way, there was a giant barrier preventing us from going that way! Also, the drive from the main road down to the station is a mile long. That’s kinda stupid.
Pros: This station has what a commuter rail station needs: shelters, accessibility, parking, and a footbridge to safely cross the tracks.
Cons: The stairs are disgusting, the footbridge will only rust more with time, the station is a mile from downtown Ashland, and it feels kind of depressing waiting for the train here.
Final verdict: 7/10
This station does its job well, has functioning mini highs, plenty of parking, and a footbridge. However, that should be repainted. It looks disgusting and the rust will only get worse with time.
Perhaps the "High Speed Trains" sign is because of the Lake Shore Limited to/from Chicago that comes by twice a day? But even that only goes 79mph through the station at most, not high speed even by American standards.
In addition to the Lake Shore Limited, there are also two super-express trains on weekdays that run nonstop from Framingham to Worcester (trains 551 and 552), and also a couple of deadhead moves between Worcester Yard and Framingham.