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All Aboard in April for Wickford Junction

The long-awaited Wickford Junction Train Station is set to open in April.

On a sunny March day, Wickford Junction Train Station welcomed its first commuter train to its newly-finished platform. It was just a test run, but it was a long-awaited sight for the Cioe family.

Proprietors of the Wickford Junction plaza, the Cioes, have dreamt of a train station in town for decades since they bought the land in 1982. But for patriarch Bob Cioe, it’s a vision he’s had since 1959. Attending college in Boston while living in Rhode Island to save money, Cioe would take the 99 New Haven every day to and from class – doing his homework or catching up on sleep during the commute.

And he loved it.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is anticipating the station to be up and running the week of April 23, complete with grand-opening ceremonies – nearly 30 years after the Cioes bought the property.

Though it’s been a long road, Bob Cioe’s son Rob says they have taken time and great care in creating the station they want. If the parking garage – which can hold up to 1,100 vehicles – looks familiar, you may have seen its inspiration only a short ways down Ten Rod Road. According to Rob Cioe, the historic Lafayette Mill served as its aesthetic inspiration.

“We really wanted that village look for the station,” said Rob Cioe.

The building may have the village look on the outside, but inside its walls it boasts newer technologies and features – from energy efficient lights to heated and air-conditioned bathrooms to chargers for electric cars and more. The station will even have a coffee shop for commuters needing a caffeinated pick-me-up or bite to eat.

Tentatively, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) has 11 stops scheduled for Wickford Junction. There will be five morning trains – the first leaving Wickford at 4:50 a.m. and arriving at Boston’s South Station at 6:40 a.m. and the last leaving at 9:10 a.m. and arriving in Boston at 10:57 a.m. – and four evening trains – the first leaving Boston at 4 p.m. and arriving in Wickford at 5:41 p.m. and the last at 8:15 p.m., arriving at 9:55 p.m. There will also be two afternoon trains, said Cioe.

“I think a Boston commuter can use that schedule all day long,” said Rob Cioe.

Tickets to Boston will cost $9 one-way, with half off for students and seniors. Commuters to Providence will pay $5 roundtrip. With a $4 fee for the parking garage and a $5 roundtrip ticket, commuters heading to Providence will only pay $9.

“With gas at $4 a gallon, you can’t drive from Wickford to Providence for $9,” said Bob Cioe.

However, Providence’s public transportation system isn’t as robust as Boston’s. The Cioes are attempting to coordinate shuttle buses to transport commuters around the city.

It's been more than 50 years since he took the train to Boston every day, but Bob Cioe’s hoping others will love the experience just as much in 2012 as he did in the 1950s.

“My feeling was that once people got on the train, they’d like it,” said Bob Cioe. “I think the challenge would be to get them on the train and out of their ordinary routine.”

According to his son, some people are already prepping in anticipation of the train station's opening: one singles group has already made plans to use the train to go to Boston and Providence for its meet-ups.

With the expansion of Walmart and the incoming train station this year, the Cioes are hoping for big things at Wickford Junction. According to Rob Cioe, their company is considering adding a residential component to the center.

“This really is a huge step for South County,” said Rob Cioe. “We’re poised to show growth in North Kingstown.”

"Like" Wickford Junction's Facebook page for more updates.

Rhodysports March 27, 2012 at 11:52 AM
The number of trains going to Boston for commuters is great. How many will be stopping at the Ruggles Station as this is a primary stop for commuters to the Longwood section, Northeastern and even Fenway.
Frank Castellone April 22, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Just wonderful... Thanks to the vision of the Cioe family who came up with a well thought out plan, shopping, restaurant, and now a comunitor rail which I believe will increase our property values. Well done Mr. Cioe you should be heading our "Planning Board" or running for "Town Council". Unfortunally the back drop will be a 400 foot Wind Turbine (ugh). Hope it does not blow over the trains (LOL). ALL ABOARD!!!!
NKGOP Watch April 22, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I doubt that anyone will skip Home Depot or Walmart or Kohls in NK to buy an expensive 2 hour train ride to Boston (each way). I DO think the lack of trains to Boston on weekends kinda flies in the face of that as well.
NKGOP Watch April 22, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Call it sour grapes but I recall the outcry against Walmart and this developer's counterpoint was "it will be set way back". Didnt mention the STAPLES and SHOPPING PLAZA and BANK plans. Kinda hard for me to forget that kind of insulting BS... Before this urban commuter station/retail sprawl was put in, and the yuppies that patronize it NK was a BETTER place. And as to why it was all done, FOR THE MONEY, boys and girls, FOR THE MONEY. The feel good crap is, just that. The town has further destroyed Post Rd and urbanized the west end of town so someone could make a buck. Welcome to "South Warwick"!
Scott Madison May 23, 2012 at 11:15 PM
130 commuters/day.....104 to Providence, 26 to Boston Monday to Friday.....so much for a big impact...maybe in 10 years http://www2.turnto10.com/news/2012/may/23/state-waits-passengers-discover-commuter-rail-ar-1047288/

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