The new Hub will be....Worcester?
Well, at least when it comes to rail transportation. The T&G reports today that as CSX winds down operations in its Beacon Park yard in Allston, it's planning to shift its operations to the west. And according to Transportation Secretary Jeff Mullan, the new set-up promises to "make Worcester the freight rail hub for all six New England states with east-west and north-south rail connections with access to highways."
The news isn't entirely unexpected. Even before CSX finalized its agreement in September, communities had fretted that the changes might increase rail traffic and its accompanying disruptions. But it does highlight an ongoing shift in Boston's regional role. From a satellite, it still resembles the hub of a wheel, with highways spoking outward, and connecting to the circumferential 128 and 495. But as industry and offices have shifted out to those circumferential belts, it's made progressively less sense to move things into the city by truck or rail, only to shift them back out again. The new plan will allow for double-stacked train cars to come in from the west to Worcester, where they'll be sorted, and then shifted by road or rail to their final destinations.
In some ways, this is positive news. Reducing urban truck traffic is positive, as is opening Beacon Park for development. But it also signals the ongoing shifts in our economy, as the traditional blue-collar jobs continue to disappear.