Commuter Rail Offers New Transportation Option With the Addition of a New Hampshire Line

Students wishing to travel to New Hampshire now have another way to make the short trip from Andover. Legislation signed in July by New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch established commuter rails providing service from Lowell, MA to both Nashua, NH and Manchester, NH, after a previous attempt to establish a similar service failed in 1981. The railway boards in Lowell, a 20-minute drive from Andover. After arriving at Nashua or Manchester, a student would similarly have to find a ride home. Some students feel that the commuter rail is not as convenient as it could be, given that many live outside Nashua or Manchester. “I would first need to take a taxi from Andover to Lowell, and my parents might find it easier to just pick me up from school, since I live fairly close,” said Andrew Ang ’09, a boarder from Hookset, NH, a 45-minute drive from Andover. The rail’s convenience ultimately depends on how far students live from Andover. While some live more than one hour away by car, others are only 20 to 40 minutes away from campus. Those who live within a 30-mile radius of school are unlikely to consider the commuter rail. “I live in Hampton, [NH], where it is easier to drive from school back home instead of [going to] Nashua or Manchester, which is really out of the way,” said Anna Mackey ’09. “My parents normally drive me [home] because it is only a 40-minute drive,” she added. A few students, however, plan to use the rail if their parents aren’t able to transport them. “The rail service might be useful since I live in Nashua, but I can get a ride home in an hour or less, so I don’t foresee using the rail service unless [my parents] can’t drive me,” said Andrew Yankes ’08. Both Nashua and Manchester, NH are approximately 40 minutes away from Andover. Combined with the 20-minute ride to Lowell, some feel the commuter rail is more time consuming than simply driving. “Getting to Lowell isn’t easy,” said J.R. Santaniello ’08. Boarders must either take a taxi or ask a day student to drive them. The cost and schedule of the planned commuter rail has yet to be determined. Due to students’ busy schedules, the railway may seem slow and complicated. Even if there is weekend service, Saturday games and extra-curricular activities may inhibit students from using the proposed line. Homework also discourages students from taking the rail. “I think that if I went home more often, I wouldn’t have time to do my homework,” said Ang.