Draft:Proposed expansion of the MBTA subway

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The current subway system was comprised of many expansions; most stations did not exist when the lines first opened.

Since the opening of Boston's first subway line in 1897, and during the subway system's history, multiple official and planning agencies have proposed several extensions of the subway lines. The first major expansion of the subway system was the opening of the Boston Elevated Railway's main line in 1901, which utilized part of the Tremont Street Subway to carry it's trains under the city. The line was thus expanded into Charlestown and Roxbury, and it served as a predecessor for parts of the Orange Line and Silver Line.

Shortly after this expansion, the system continued to grow. The East Boston Tunnel opened in 1904, and provided a one-seat ride from East Boston to Downtown. The tunnel was the first in North America to go underwater, as it ran 2,700 feet (820 m) under Boston Harbor. This tunnel is still in use today, carrying the modern Blue Line from Bowdoin to Maverick. The line surfaces after Maverick and continues into Revere.

In 1909, construction began on a tunnel between Boston and Cambridge. This tunnel was proposed for years, but was ultimately delayed by the residents of the cities, who disagreed on how many stations were to be constructed. The tunnel finally opened in 1912, running from Harvard Square to Park Street. Several further extensions of the tunnel into South Boston continued between 1917 and 1928, and the line terminated at Ashmont. Today, this comprises much of the Red Line's Ashmont branch. A second branch of the line to Braintree opened in multiple segments between 1971 and 1983.

In recent times, many new proposals for the system have arisen, but few have actually been constructed. An extension of the Orange Line to Reading was partially constructed in 1977, but never fully completed due to a lack of funding. An extension of the Red Line to Lexington was also partially constructed in 1985, but never finished because of community opposition. Nearly three decades passed before another large expansion of the subway began construction, as an extension of the Green Line to Medford and Somerville began construction in 2017 and is planned to open in 2021.

Early Years[edit]

Before unification of the subway system in 1964, several different subway and streetcar systems operated throughout Boston and surrounding areas. The Boston Elevated Railway initially provided service between Charlestown and Roxbury, before several expansions pushed service further south and north. The East Boston Tunnel initially provided service between East Boston and Downtown, until the line was extended further east into Revere. The Cambridge Tunnel began operations between Park Street and Harvard Square in 1912, and was extended south several times, with the line eventually terminating in Dorchester.

May 1900 Plan[edit]

During the planning stages for the East Boston Tunnel, an engineering plan released in May 1900 revealed that the tunnel was to connect East Boston with Cambridge, as the termini of the line was planned to be Harvard Square and Maverick Square. This tunnel would have used bi-level loading cars, as the cars would have been used as both rapid-transit cars and surface-level trolley cars. After a series of disagreements between the Boston Elevated Railway and the Boston Transit Commission, the plan was dropped.[1]

1906–1909[edit]

The original plan for Court Street included two tracks and a connection to nearby Scollay Square. Neither of these were built, which was a factor in the station's closure.
An extension to Forest Hills opened in 1909.

During this short three-year period, several proposals for both the East Boston Tunnel and the Elevated Main Line pushed service into the suburbs.

  • Around the same time, Court Street station began to be problematic for the line, as the station was only single-tracked. As the station was the western terminus of the line, this design prevented frequent service to the station and also resulted in crashes. The Boston Elevated Railway proposed closing the station and extending service into Beacon Hill.[3] Construction of Bowdoin began in 1912, and the station was opened in 1916.
  • Calls for improved streetcar service to Cambridge prompted a proposal to build an elevated railway bridge connecting Boston and Cambridge. Construction on this extension, known as the Lechmere Viaduct began in 1907.

1912–1916[edit]

The Lechmere Viaduct shortly after completion

The subway system continued to grow with the opening of both the Cambridge Tunnel and the Lechmere Viaduct in 1912. A section of the Boylston Street Subway opened shortly after in 1914, connecting to the Tremont Street Subway.

  • In March 1912, the Cambridge Tunnel opened between Harvard Square and Park Street, with additional stations at Central Square and Kendall Square. The tunnel's opening was significantly delayed because of a dispute regarding the number of stations to be built between Park Street and Harvard Square. Mayor Wardwell, along with many Cambridge residents wanted five intermediate stations to be built on the line, but many Boston residents only wanted a single station to be built at Central Square, citing that additional stations would lengthen travel times on the line. Only building two intermediate stations was agreed upon in 1909, and construction commenced.[6]
  • In June 1912, the Lechmere Viaduct began operating, it carried streetcars across the Charles River into Cambridge. It was proposed several years earlier, and construction began in 1909. It was built to allow streetcars to easily get from Boston to Cambridge, as streetcars originally had to use the oft-busy Craigie Bridge.[7]

1917–1929[edit]

A streetcar station at Valley Road in Milton opened in 1929.

Between 1917 and 1929, the Cambridge-Dorchester Line was extended further south to Andrew Square in South Boston. A proposal to extend the line even further along the right-of-way of the former Shawmut Branch Railroad caused the line to eventually terminate at Ashmont station. The Ashmont–Mattapan High Speed Line also opened in two phases in 1929.

  • In 1921, Arlington, an infill station on the Boylston Street Subway opened. Many businesses in the area lobbied for a new station at Arlington Street, citing that they could lose money because of the lack of a nearby station. Mayor James Michael Curley supported the idea for a new station, and the proposal was later approved. Opening of the station was delayed for years because of World War I.[4][9]
  • In March 1923, a proposal to create a new trolley line between Ashmont and Mattapan was approved. The line opened six years later.[10]
  • In 1924, after three years of planning and proposals, the East Boston Tunnel was converted from streetcar use to third rail-powered rapid transit. This change took only a single weekend to complete, and was built by nearly 1,500 men.[5][6]

1932–1946[edit]

This map from 1945 is one of the most ambitious expansion plans ever.

During the last years of the Boston Elevated Railway, several streetcar lines connected with the Boylston Street Subway, to form parts of the present-day Green Line. The Atlantic Avenue Elevated also closed during this time.

Historical routes[edit]

Green Line Historical Routes from 1897 to 1946
1897–1898 1898–1911 1912–1913
Park Street
Boylston
streetcars continue
North Station
Canal Street Incline
Haymarket
Adams Square
Scollay Square
Park Street
Tremont Street Subway
Boylston
Pleasant Street Incline
Public Garden Portal
streetcars continue
Lechmere
Lechmere Viaduct
Charles River
North Station
Causeway Street Elevated
Canal Street Incline
Haymarket
Adams Square
Scollay Square
Park Street
Tremont Street Subway
Boylston
Pleasant Street Incline
Public Garden Portal
1914–1920 1921–1931 1932–1940
streetcars continue
Lechmere
Lechmere Viaduct
Charles River
North Station
Causeway Street Elevated
Canal Street Incline
Haymarket
Adams Square
Scollay Square
Park Street
Tremont Street Subway
Boylston
Pleasant Street Incline
Boylston Street Subway
Copley
Massachusetts
Kenmore Square Portal
Lechmere
Lechmere Viaduct
Charles River
North Station
Causeway Street Elevated
Canal Street Incline
Haymarket
Adams Square
Scollay Square
Park Street
Tremont Street Subway
Boylston
Pleasant Street Incline
Boylston Street Subway
Arlington
Copley
Massachusetts
Kenmore Square Portal
Lechmere
Lechmere Viaduct
Charles River
North Station
Causeway Street Elevated
Canal Street Incline
Haymarket
Adams Square
Scollay Square
Park Street
Tremont Street Subway
Boylston
Pleasant Street Incline
Boylston Street Subway
Arlington
Copley
Massachusetts
Kenmore
Beacon Street Line
to Reservoir
Commonwealth Ave Branch
to Lake Street
Watertown Branch
to Watertown Yard
1941–1946 Notes
Lechmere
Lechmere Viaduct
Charles River
North Station
Causeway Street Elevated
Canal Street Incline
Haymarket
Adams Square
Scollay Square
Park Street
Tremont Street Subway
Boylston
Pleasant Street Incline
Boylston Street Subway
Arlington
Copley
Arborway Branch
Massachusetts
Kenmore
Beacon Street Line
to Reservoir
Commonwealth Ave Branch
to Lake Street
Watertown Branch
to Watertown Yard
Red Line Historical Routes from 1912 to 1946
1912–1914 1915 1916
Harvard Square
Central Square
Kendall Square
Park Street
Harvard Square
Central Square
Kendall Square
Park Street
Washington Street
Harvard Square
Central Square
Kendall Square
Park Street
Washington Street
South Station
1917 1918–1926 1927
Harvard Square
Central Square
Kendall Square
Park Street
Washington Street
South Station
Broadway
Harvard Square
Central Square
Kendall Square
Park Street
Washington Street
South Station
Broadway
Andrew Square
Harvard Square
Central Square
Kendall Square
Park Street
Washington Street
South Station
Broadway
Andrew Square
Columbia
Savin Hill
Fields Corner
1928 1929–1946 Notes
Harvard Square
Central Square
Kendall Square
Park Street
Washington Street
South Station
Broadway
Andrew Square
Columbia
Savin Hill
Fields Corner
Shawmut
Ashmont/Peabody Square
Harvard Square
Central Square
Kendall Square
Charles Street
opened
1932
Park Street
Washington Street
South Station
Broadway
Andrew Square
Columbia
Savin Hill
Fields Corner
Shawmut
Ashmont/Peabody Square
Cedar Grove
Butler
opened
1931
Milton
Central Avenue
Valley Road
Capen Street
opened
1930
Mattapan
Orange Line Historical Routes from 1901 to 1946
1901–1907 1908 1909–1918
Sullivan Square
Thompson Square
opened 1902
City Square
North Station
Rail transportation in the United States#Passenger railroads MBTA.svg
Canal Street Incline to
Tremont Street Subway
Battery Street
Haymarket
Adams Square
Scollay Square
State Street
Rowes Wharf
Park Street
South Station
Rail transportation in the United States#Passenger railroads
Boylston
Pleasant Street
Beach Street
Dover
Northampton
Dudley Square
Sullivan Square
Thompson Square
City Square
 North Station
Battery Street
 Friend-Union
State St-Atlantic Ave
 Milk St-State St
Rowes Wharf
Summer-Winter
South Station
Boylston-Essex
Beach Street
Dover
Northampton
Dudley Square
Sullivan Square
Thompson Square
City Square
North Station
Battery Street
Friend-Union
State St-Atlantic Ave
Milk St-State St
Rowes Wharf
Summer-Winter
South Station
Boylston-Essex
Beach Street
Atlantic Avenue Elevated
Dover
Northampton
Dudley Square
Egleston
Green Street
opened
1912
Forest Hills
1919–1937 1938–1946 Notes
Everett
Sullivan Square
Thompson Square
City Square
North Station
Battery Street
Friend-Union
State St-Atlantic Ave
Milk St-State St
Rowes Wharf
Summer-Winter
South Station
Boylston-Essex
Atlantic Avenue Elevated
Dover
Northampton
Egleston
Green St
opened
1912
Forest Hills
Everett
Sullivan Square
Thompson Square
City Square
North Station
Washington Street Subway
Friend-Union
Milk-State
Winter-Summer
Boylston-Essex
Dover
Northampton
Dudley Square
Egleston
Green Street
Blue Line Historical Routes from 1904 to 1946
1904–1905 1906–1913 1914–1915
streetcars continue
Maverick Portal
Boston Harbor
Devonshire
Court Street
streetcars continue
Maverick Portal
Boston Harbor
Atlantic Avenue
Devonshire
Court Street
streetcars continue
Maverick Portal
Boston Harbor
Atlantic Avenue
Devonshire
1916–1923 1924–1946 Notes
streetcars continue
Maverick Portal
Boston Harbor
Atlantic Avenue
Devonshire
Scollay Under
Bowdoin
Joy Street Portal
streetcars continue
streetcars continue
Maverick Portal
Maverick
Boston Harbor
Atlantic Avenue
Devonshire
Scollay Under
Bowdoin
Joy Street Portal
streetcars continue

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cheney, Frank (7 April 2004). Boston's Blue Line. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 11–12. ISBN 978-0-7385-3576-0. This May 1900 engineering plan shows the East Boston Tunnel as outfitted for use by elevated trains on the planned Harvard Square-Maverick Square line. The plan was dropped as a result of continued heated disagreements between the Boston Elevated and the Boston Transit Commision.
  2. ^ Chasson, George Jr. (1987). Lonto, Arthur J. (ed.). "Boston's Main Line El: The Formative Years 1879–1908". Headlights. Electric Railroader's Association. 49: 16, 57.
  3. ^ Clarke, Bradley H.; Cummings, O.R. (1997). Tremont Street Subway: A Century of Public Service. Boston Street Railway Association. ISBN 0938315048.
  4. ^ a b Koebel, Romin (2005). "Boston Transit Milestones". MIT Open Courseware. Archived from the original on 2006-09-20. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Belcher, Jonathan (5 August 2017). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b Cudahy, Brian J. (1972). Change at Park Street Under: The Story of Boston's Subways. Brattleboro, Vermont, US: Stephen Greene Press. ISBN 0-8289-0173-2.
  7. ^ "STATE AND CITY OFFICIALS INSPECT NEW ELEVATED: East Cambridge Extension For Surface Cars Will Reduce Running Time From North Station to Three Minutes". Boston Globe. 28 May 1912. Retrieved 5 August 2017 – via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  8. ^ a b O'Regan, Gerry. "MBTA Orange Line". Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Officials Celebrate Modernization of Arlington Station". MBTA.com. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
  10. ^ Cheney, Frank (2002). Boston's Red Line: Bridging the Charles from Alewife to Braintree. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 6–8, 66–67. ISBN 9780738510477.
  11. ^ a b O'Regan, Gerry. "MBTA Red Line". Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  12. ^ O'Regan, Gerry. "MBTA Green Line". Retrieved 8 August 2017.

External links[edit]