Mass Coastal Railroad installs fence along Merchants Way

Additional design concepts are being considered by the town
Oct 14, 2023

Residents may have begun to notice something a little different at the railroad tracks along Merchants Way this October — the installation of a new fence. 

The fence’s installation began at the start of October with the bridge and extending a bit further down Merchants Way.

According to Christopher Podgurski, president and CEO of Mass Coastal, the plan is for the fence to extend from the south end of the passenger platform all the way to Sandwich Road, with two passageways for crossing.

According to Ken Buckland, director of Planning and Community Development, the fence was installed as a part of the railroad company’s efforts to increase safety measures along the tracks after a man from Dorchester was struck and killed by a train this past June. 

In addition, multiple green signs have been installed warning the community to stay off the tracks. 

With Merchants Way being a common fishing spot at the Wareham River, Buckland said the railroad company wants to construct a safe pedestrian crossing for the tracks at the two fence openings.

“The next question is: what are we going to put on the other side?” Buckland said.

He said the town is considering its options for constructing a fishing pier, kayak launch and coastal pathway. 

The Massachusetts Seaport Advisory Council has provided $125,000 toward the design of such projects and the town has pitched in $25,000. He and other officials are currently in the process of selecting a design company for a project.

Nick Santolucito, owner of M&D Outfitters on Main Street, calls the potential waterfront improvements “a great idea.” He said the town needs to regain access to the shoreline while keeping safety as its top priority.

Buckland said although this project is still just a “concept” — with cost and funding sources still unknown — he believes the chances of it not happening are low.