HAVERHILL — The City Council voted unanimously last night to stand behind Bradford residents in trying to resolve their concerns about commuter trains idling for long periods of time at the Bradford layover station. One councilor called the situation a case of "promises made and broken" on the part of the MBTA.
"I can't believe we're still talking about this issue 20 years later," Councilor Thomas Sullivan said in reference to a time when he served as an aide to State Rep. Frank Emilio, when neighborhood concerns about trains idling at the Bradford station came to light.
Last night, Germain Avenue resident Bert LaCerte submitted a petition signed by 40 Wood School neighbors who live near the Bradford layover station asking the city to enforce federal and state laws that limit train idling to no more than a half hour at a time.
The petition was signed by residents of Verndale Street, Front Street, South New Street, Germain Avenue and South Merrill Street. Those streets are near the layover station, where commuter trains warm up their diesel engines and get all of their systems operating in the early morning before making their first runs into Boston.
LaCerte was invited to last night's meeting by Councilor Melinda Barrett, who asked the council to send a formal request to the city's legislative delegation as well as the EPA and MBTA asking for plug-in stations to be installed at the Bradford layover stations.
LaCerte said these stations are used to connect to a train’s main engine so they don’t have to warm up the engine by idling
Barrett also asked that the letter include a request for signs on the rail line restricting unnecessary horn sounding as well as idling.
The neighbors said the idling lasts two hours or more on many weekday mornings between 4 and 7 a.m. They are concerned with noise and in particular train emissions, which they said contain unhealthy particles such as lead.