It is a bright fall day. The sun shines through the leaves and dappled light dances on the sidewalk as you step out of your house. A group of Blue Jays greets you with a song, and you marvel at the simple beauty of nature. The sweet scent of fall permeates the air; the wind rustles the leaves on the trees. Everything is just as it should be. Suddenly, you are overwhelmed by a sense of fear so great you can barely stand: how will you get to school?
To many Concord Academy students, the answer to this question is the train, more specifically, the Commuter Rail.
Around a quarter of CA students commute to school on the Fitchburg Line, one of the 13 lines associated with the Commuter Rail. The Fitchburg Line stretches from North Station to Wachusett and it can be difficult to navigate. So, before school begins, new student riders should understand how the train operates. There are two categories of trains within the Fitchburg Line: inbound and outbound. An inbound train travels towards downtown Boston, while an outbound train travels away from the city. Most train kids, as they are affectionately referred to at CA, will take the outbound train to school if they live closer to Boston than Concord. All of the train tracks in the Fitchburg Line stations are clearly labeled “Inbound” or “Outbound.” However, due to construction, the outbound train will sometimes arrive on the inbound train track (or vice versa).
There are 17 stops on the Fitchburg Line, including Concord (not to be confused with West Concord, the station after Concord), where CA students exit the train and begin the five-minute walk to school. Like many stops on the Fitchburg Line, Concord is a flag stop, meaning the train will only stop there if someone informs the train crew they are getting off at that stop. Often, students do not need to notify the crew that they are getting off at Concord on the way to school, as the staff is used to having an influx of CA students on the early weekday trains.
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, most students take the 405 Train and arrive at CA at 8:15 in the morning. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, days when school has a delayed start, students can opt to take the 407 Train or take the 405 Train and arrive at school early. Train kids can find information about the Fitchburg Line and the train schedule on the MBTA website. This site also contains information about delayed trains, though many train kids use separate apps that can more accurately predict these delays. “I use mTicket to find the [train] schedule and buy tickets. I also use ProximiT to see when the train will arrive,” said Sophia Primmer ’26, a train student from Cambridge, MA.
Although students can purchase tickets after they board the train (with either cash or credit), some train kids like Sophia prefer to purchase their tickets online. Regardless of the method, all CA students can use a half-off student discount when buying their tickets.
Whether you spend your train ride talking with friends or catching up on homework, the train provides a convenient, (mostly) stress-free way to commute to and from CA.