PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Officials are hoping to eradicate a major headache that always played a role in a favorite Rhode Island summer outing — snarled traffic into and out of Quonset Point for the Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show.
The answer: take a commuter rail train. For free.
For the first time, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation has proposed running a free train service to get people from Providence and Warwick to the air show in North Kingstown, which is set for June 11 and 12 this year. The train will stop at the end of the secondary runway at Quonset Point, with a short walk to the staging areas.
RIDOT officially announced the free train service Thursday afternoon at the Providence train station, after a collaboration with the Rhode Island National Guard, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, Seaview Railroad, the Quonset Development Corporation, and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.
“The Air Show is one of the most beloved events of the summer, and draws tens of thousands of people,” RIDOT director Peter Alviti, Jr., said. “We’re pleased… to help reduce long traffic jams we typically see on highways leading to the show.”
In 2014, organizers estimated at least 80,000 people attended over the course of the weekend.
One train each will leave from the Providence train station and the T.F. Green Interlink train station in the morning, but there will be two trains in the afternoon and each will stop at both stations.
Parking will be free at the State Offices parking lots and at the Interlink station parking garage, but space will be limited both for parking spots and seats on the train — it’s all first come, first served. While the Air Show allows lawn chairs and camp chairs, train riders will be asked to only bring collapsible camp chairs due to limited space. Other items allowed into or banned from the show are outlined at the Air Show website; but banned items include pets, coolers, all backpacks and weapons.
For a list of schedules and train times, click here.
To the Air Show:
Depart Providence – 7:29 a.m.; Depart T.F. Green – 7:45 a.m.; Arrive Quonset – 8:15 a.m.
Depart Providence – 9:30 a.m.; Arrive Quonset – 10:15 a.m.
Depart T.F. Green – 11:15 a.m.; Arrive Quonset – 11:45 a.m.
From the Air Show:
Depart Quonset – 2:00 p.m.; Arrive T.F. Green – 2:30 p.m.; Arrive Providence – 2:46 p.m.
Depart Quonset – 4:00 p.m.; Arrive T.F. Green – 4:30 p.m.; Arrive Providence – 4:46 p.m.
Depart Quonset – 6:00 p.m.; Arrive T.F. Green – 6:30 p.m.; Arrive Providence – 6:46 p.m.