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JR 610: All Aboard!

North Kingstown celebrates Wickford Junction grand opening

By Andrew Martasian
On April 27, 2012

Rhode Island's newest commuter rail station pulls out all the stops for commuters traveling to Providence and Boston.

Wickford Junction, which opened on Monday, features a small café, and a 1,000-car garage where commuters can park for $4 a day.

But the most modern convenience available to RI commuters is the Juice Bar, a row of electric-car charging stations capable of serving 10 electric-cars at a time.

Aside from the $4 cost of parking, electric car owners can use the Juice Bar to "fill-up" for free.

"We're beginning to get greener and greener," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

The charging stations take seven hours to charge a dead battery, but on average, most people only need about four hours to fill up, said Tina Freches, Internet Manager at Anchor Nissan of North Smithfield.

Freches was at the grand opening ceremony to answer questions about the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt hooked up to the Juice Bar.

According to Freches, more charging stations will be springing up all over the state in the coming months.

Officials from all over the country praised the new station for being innovative and helping revitalize the RI economy, at a grand opening ceremony on Monday.

This project "put friends and neighbors back to work to build infrastructure," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

The project, which took two years to build, was supposed to be completed in June, but was finished ahead of schedule.

"This job was not low bid, it was high value," said Bob Cioe, the developer in charge of construction of the new station.

Cioe first envisioned a train station at Wickford in the 1950s when he was commuting to Boston for college.

Ten trains run in and out of the station each weekday, and for $9 each way commuters can take the train all the way to Boston.

"This is going to be great for North Kingstown," said Town Council President Elizabeth Dolan. "We are hoping for weekend service as well." 

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