100 Years of the Tremont Street Subway

by Scott Moore, with special thanks to Edward A. Anderson, Jonathan Belcher, George Chiasson, and Bradley H. Clarke.



Photo: Edward A. Anderson
The sign hanging next to the incline at the St. Mary's Street stop on Beacon Street says it all.


The story printed in the evening edition of "The Boston Daily Globe", shows the interest and fascination of subway travel 100 years ago. When the Tremont Street subway opened on September 1, 1897, the electric trolley had been operating in Boston for only eight years, while horsecar operations would continue for another three!

As mentioned in the Globe article, the first piece of the subway to open was the short segment from the Public Gardens incline to Park Street station. As predicted in the article, the Pleasant Street incline (at the intersection of Shawmut Ave. and Tremont St.) was opened on October 1, 1897. The last stretch of the subway, from Park Street to Causeway Street, would not open until September 3, 1898, some six months behind the transit commission's prediction.

When completed, the entire subway consisted of five stations (Boylston Street, Park Street, Scollay Square, Adams Square, and Haymarket Square) one fewer than called for in the original plan. Initially, a subway stop at North Station was included, but that design made connections with a proposed elevated line difficult. When the subway opened to Causeway St., the cars rolled up a four-track incline to a temporary waiting shed.

The subway was originally designed to handle the large volumes of cars which accessed the downtown area. Four tracks ran from Park Street and Scollay to the portals. Two tracks ran between the two stations. An additional track and loop was provided at Adams Square to allow cars from Causeway St. to turn around at Adams. The loop was never used as such, and was dismantled by the summer of 1901. The third track in that piece of tunnel was used as a stub-end storage rail for work cars until 1942.

"Cut-and-cover" tunneling method was used extensively to build the subway. The routing was limited to the pattern of the streets above. This explains the number of tight turns which the cars were forced to make, and the division of the northbound and southbound tunnels between Haymarket and Scollay.


In the Beginning...


Left: Tremont Street was packed with horsecars in this view circa 1891. (Photo: The Boston Transit Album, Bradley H. Clarke, 1977)
Center: By 1895, the electric streetcar was the norm on Tremont Street. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: By 1896, construction of the subway was well underway, as seen here next to the Boston Common. The Park Street church is in the background. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)


Left: It is August 12, 1897 as an open car, bound for Huntington Ave., turns onto Boylston St. from Tremont. The new kiosks belong to the Boylston Street station. (Photo: The Boston Transit Album, Bradley H. Clarke, 1977)
Center: A test car filled with motormen and conductors rounds the outer loop at Park Street. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: The historic first car and its capable crew is posed at the Allston carbarn on September 1, 1897. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)


Left: Opening day outside of Park Street station. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)
Center: The plaque commorating the opening of the subway is still mounted over the stairs down to the southbound tracks. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: The Public Garden incline on Opening Day. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)


Left: The Public Garden incline on October 17, 1898. (Photo: The Boston Transit Album, Bradley H. Clarke, 1977)
Center: The "bellmouths" just before the Pleasant Street incline show how the subway eliminated junctions in the subway. (Photo: The Boston Transit Album, Bradley H. Clarke, 1977)
Right: The original Adams Square kiosk circa 1910. (Photo: The Boston Rapid Transit Album, Bradley H. Clarke, 1981)


Left: The inside at Adams Square station in 1897. The track to the right is the unused loop track. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: A closed car pauses at Park Street in 1897. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)


When completed in 1898, the subway would not remain in its original condition for long. The Boston Elevated Railway Co. (BERy), who began leasing the West End Street Railway in the end of 1897, began construction of the Sullivan to Dudley Elevated. The new line would have two routes, one along Atlantic Avenue, and the other through the Tremont Street subway. Construction of the "Main Line Elevated" began in late March of 1899, and service commenced, via the subway, on June 10, 1901.

Before Main Line trains could run through the Tremont Street subway, major changes were needed to accommodate the longer trains. The subway got its first signaling system, and the outer (through) tracks had electrified third rail installed. New wooden high-platforms were built over the original trolley platforms.

When Main Line service commenced, the Pleasant Street incline was closed to surface cars, as was all of the through-routed track. Trolleys were forced to terminate at Park Street or Brattle (Scollay) loop. This operation continued until November 29, 1908, when the Main Line was rerouted into the newly built Washington Street tunnel, which still serves the "Orange Line" today. Full streetcar service was restored throughout the subway on December 4, 1908.

Scollay station was further altered with the opening of Court Street station of the East Boston Tunnel in 1904. This tiny station was built to facilitate the turning of cars from East Boston. Connecting stairways and passages were constructed to facilitate transfers between Court Street and Scollay.

In preparation for the Main Line's relocation into the Washington Street tunnel, changes were made at the Causeway Street portal. In 1907, Haymarket station was enlarged and shifted westward, to facilitate the expansion of the incline to six tracks. The two eastern most portals became the portals for the Washington Street tunnel, and two new portals were constructed on the western side of the incline for the inbound trolley tracks. In May of 1909, after the Washington Street tunnel was in operation, a new underpass was opened connecting Haymarket and the new Friend/Union station of the Main Line.

One feature that remained after the removal of the Main Line was the fence separating the Brattle loop from the through tracks at Scollay. The Brattle loop was used by other trolley operators who were not affiliated with BERy. Fares in the Brattle loop were collected on the car. Paper transfers were issued to passengers transferring between BERy equipment operating in the Brattle Loop and the rest of the subway.

After the last vestiges of the Main Line were removed from the subway, further alterations would be made in less than a year. On September 29, 1909, the Boston Transit Commission began construction of the Beacon Hill tunnel. When finished, the new line would run over the West Boston Bridge and in the Cambridge Subway to Harvard Square. On March 23, 1912, the stairways to "Park Street Under" were opened.


The Main Line in the Tremont Street Subway...


Left: A test train operates into the subway. The trailers behind the car are supplying power to the rapid transit car through a "bug wire". (Photo: ERA Sprague Library)
Center: A three-car El train descends into the subway on July 19, 1901. (Photo: Rapid Transit Boston, Bradley H. Clarke, 1971)
Right: Park Street station as converted for Main Line operation (Photo: The Boston Rapid Transit Album, Bradley H. Clarke, 1981)


Further changes were made in 1910, as the Canal Street (North Station) surface station was enclosed and made into a pre-payment area. Surface cars operating on Causeway St. were still allowed to enter the new Canal Street facility on their way into the subway. The construction of the Lechmere viaduct was underway by this time, connecting the Tremont Street subway to Lechmere Square.

On March 12, 1912, the Boston Transit Commission began building the Boylston Street subway. This extension of the subway connected the Tremont Street subway to a new portal at Kenmore Street, just east of Kenmore Square. The extension also included a new portal on Boylston St. next to the Public Gardens.

On June 1, 1912, the Lechmere viaduct opened. The viaduct included a new stop at North Station West. This extension allowed cars from East Cambridge faster access into the subway. The cars operated over local streets to Lechmere Square and then proceed up onto the viaduct to access the subway.

In 1914, a major change was taking place. The original Public Garden incline would be abandoned with the opening of the new Boylston Street portal. Part of this change was to facilitate better, easier, and safer operations when the new Boylston Street subway opened. The new portal eliminated a cross-over in the tunnel as the tracks descended into the subway between the new inbound and outbound tracks. On July 26, the inbound (to Park Street) cars began using the new incline. On September 6, the outbound cars were shifted over. Ultimately, the original incline was sealed up and the Public Gardens were landscaped to eliminate any evidence of the historic site.

Riding on an outbound car today (sitting on the right side of the car), one can see the original section of the tunnel wall start to peel away from the car shortly after leaving Boylston station. While the section of tunnel is quite dark, it is discernable in the shadows. In the same area, looking to the left, you can see the remnants of the Boylston Street portal as well, though much of the area has been filled in with a new, cinder block encased, ventilation shaft.

On October 3, 1914, the Boylston Street subway opened, and service coming through the Kenmore Square area now dipped down into the new tunnel. The stations included in the new subway were Massachusetts and Copley.


The Boylston Street Portal...


Left: A two-car train of Center Entrance cars prepares to run into the subway at the Boylston Street incline. The center-facing poles on the Center Entrance cars allowed the conductor to reset a dewired pole without leaving the car. (Photo: Rapid Transit Boston, Bradley H. Clarke, 1971)
Right: Taken from the rear window of a PCC car, another PCC passes the old Boylston Street incline. Though the tracks have been removed, and the portal has been sealed, it is easy to see how the portal interacted with the rest of the subway. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


In 1915, Park Street underwent a major reconstruction making it twice its original size. As part of the reconstruction, the platforms were extended almost 150 feet to the southwest. The southern, southbound kiosk was relocated to the end of the new platform.

On March 18, 1916, the East Boston Tunnel Extension was opened. Stairways leading down to the new "Scollay Under" were opened.

By 1919, the Center Entrance cars made their debut in the subway. These machines were designed for only one purpose, taking on large crowds and moving them quickly. The Center Entrance cars, while true streetcars, were the first cars to give the Tremont Street subway the feeling of a rapid transit line. They had large sliding doors positioned in the center of the car. The motorman was positioned in the lead car, in an enclosed cab. A conductor was assigned to each car, stationed at the doors, to collect fares and control the doors. The Center Entrance cars operated in trains of one to three cars. BERy would ultimately own 300 Center Entrance cars equipped for multiple unit operation and another 105 Center Entrance cars designed only for single-unit operations. An additional 225 Center Entrance trailers were purchased between 1915 and 1918. These trailers were non-motorized, and were usually towed by a Type 4 car.


Some of the Earlier Cars that Ran Through the Subway...


Left: Open cars frequented the subway in the early days. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)
Center: By 1907, the Type 3s had entered service. Today, the these cars are more easily recognized as the aging Green Line Snow Plows. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: A snake-car, a short-term effort to get more larger cars fast. These cars consisted of two closed cars mated together with a center section. (Photo: BERy)


Left: Type 4 5306 sits at the Oak Square loop in 1941. Behind it is a new "Tremont" class (3002-3021) PCC car. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: A three-car train of Center Entrance cars lead by 6250 pauses at the Braves Field loop. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)


On August 15, 1919, The Boston Transit Department began construction of a new station at Arlington Street. The length of the subway between Copley and Boylston was deemed to be too long, and an intermediate station was needed. The station was opened on November 13, 1921.

In 1922, BERy began receiving deliveries of new Type 5 cars. A total of 471 Type 5s were purchased between 1922 and 1928 to replace older cars. The Type 5s were not equipped for multiple unit operation, and did not have Tomlinson couplers. They were rarely used in the subway, except for services terminating at the Brattle loop. When the Type 4s were being retired in the late 1940s and early 1950s, a small number of Type 5s received Tomlinson couplers to permit their use in the subway.

In 1922, the stairways between Park Street and Park Street Under were widened to better accommodate the large number of transferring passengers.

On July 10, 1922, Lechmere station was enclosed to make a prepayment station. Cars which were previously through routed into the subway now terminated outside of the station. Passengers transferred from their "feeder" trolley, and boarded a multiple-unit train of Center Entrance cars to continue their journey into the subway. This further helped to reduce single-unit consists in the subway. On July 26, 1923, the viaduct was reopened to "night cars" coming from East Cambridge and Somerville.

By October 14, 1923, all downtown night cars began operating in the Tremont Street subway. Cars from the south and west terminated at Park Street, while cars from the north terminated at the Brattle (Scollay) Loop. Shuttle trains provided service between Park and Scollay stations. Previously, downtown cars were operated on surface tracks between midnight and 6:00am.

In 1928, Scollay station was given a general rehabilitation. As part of the rehabilitation the original kiosk was replaced by a simple stairway leading down from the street. The Adams station kiosk disappeared at about the same time. Both kiosks were similar in their ornate design, and both were located in the middle of streets. The new low profile stairways allowed for better visibility for surface traffic.



This is for those of you who think it's tough riding the MBTA today. This sign hung above Park Street station's southbound "fence" platform. It announced the cars leaving Park Street before the closing of the Watertown Line in June of 1969. Check out the "disorder of stations", and the much used instruction at the bottom of the sign!


On July 21, 1930, construction began on the Kenmore extension of the Boylston Street subway. Over the years, Kenmore Square had become busy with vehicular traffic, and the new extension would allow the trolleys to pass beneath the traffic. When opened on October 23, 1932, it connected with the Boylston Street subway at the Kenmore Street portal. New portals were opened at Blandford Street on Commonwealth Ave., and at St. Mary's Street on Beacon St., the tunnels so aligned to eliminate the need for a crossover in the subway. A new trolley station was provided under Kenmore Square.

The extension also included features for possible future use, a trolley loop for the cars entering on the outer (Beacon St.) tracks, and a high-platform track pit for the inner (Commonwealth Ave.) tracks. These provisions were for converting the subway to a high-platform rapid-transit operation. A mini-elevated structure was built into the track pit to allow the trolleys to be at the proper height to board passengers. The incline at Blandford Street was also built on a platform to permit a further extension of the subway westerly, under Commonwealth Ave.

The high platforms installed at Kenmore were part of a philosophical change toward the trolley subway. The operation was, by the 1930s, very much a bona-fide rapid transit operation. Multiple-unit trains operated through the subway, except that the cars boarded at low-platform stations (requiring riders to navigate steps on the cars), and the cars operated on surface lines. In 1924, the East Boston Tunnel was converted from a trolley subway to a high-platform rapid transit line. This was due to the increasing demands placed on the route, and the desire to make the line more efficient. Trolleys still descended into the incline at Maverick Square, but terminated at a trolley platform, providing a cross-platform transfer to the rapid transit trains.

The installation at Kenmore proves that the topic of converting the line from Kenmore to Lechmere had been discussed. In fact, conversion of the subway to high-platform rapid transit cars have been discussed on more than one occasion. The design of Kenmore station was similar to the redesigned Maverick Square station. Cars from Beacon Street would terminate on the outer tracks at Kenmore, run around the loop, and pick up a new outbound load. Similar transfers were already being made at Lechmere. The plan, unlike the East Boston Tunnel conversion, was never implemented, probably due to the cost of the project. By this time, the subway and viaduct system for the trolleys was far larger than the East Boston Tunnel.


Left: A three-car train of Center Entrance cars prepares to move with the traffic light at Kenmore Square before 1932. The station behind the train is roughly where the Kenmore bus station is today. (Photo: The Boston Rapid Transit Album, Bradley H. Clarke, 1981)
Right: The "Green Queen", PCC 3008 leads a two-car train at Kenmore outbound. Note the wood covering the track pit. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


Left and Center: The Kenmore extension created two new portals in 1932, the St. Mary's Street portal (left) and the Blandford Street portal (center). (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: In 1959, this new portal was added to the Beacon Street tunnel to connect the Riverside Line to the subway. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


In 1935, the original kiosk at Haymarket was torn down and replaced by a simple stairway leading down to the station. Fare collection for southbound cars was relocated to platform level.

In 1936, the eastern wall of Park Street station was removed and a new platform was installed for the northbound cars. The station was still experiencing overcrowding problems, and dwell times at the station needed to be reduced. The new platform permitted passengers to unload on both sides of the car simultaneously. The expansion also effectively forced the abandonment of the farthest forward section of the northbound platform, near the stairs to Park Street Under.

On February 16, 1941, The Huntington Avenue subway was opened to Opera Place (Northeastern University). This short subway had two stations, Mechanics and Symphony, and allowed for the closing of the Boylston Street portal. The new line branched off of the Boylston Street subway just west of Copley Square. Like the Blandford Street portal, the incline was built on a platform to permit future extensions of the subway down Huntington Avenue. Due to the cost and the amount of construction necessary, a junction was installed to provide access to the new tunnel. This was the first junction in the subway. Today, the "Copley Junction" is a point of congestion in the "Central Subway". Construction of the Huntington Avenue subway was funded by the Works Progress Administration.


The Huntington Avenue Subway


Left: By the time this photo was snapped in 1978, the LRVs had shifted some Reservoir equipment over to the Arborway. Car 3260 leads a train at Prudential outbound. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Center: Car 3030, a car based at the Arborway for most of its time in Boston, was still in service in 1978. Note the lack of roof fans, which was the standard for Arborway-based equipment before the LRVs entered service. The stop is Symphony inbound. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: The first car climbs out of the Opera Place portal in 1941. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)


Left: Type 4, 5326 was photographed at Northeastern University on August 14, 1941. (Photo: The Boston Rapid Transit Album, Bradley H. Clarke, 1981)
Center: Type 5, 5734, climbs out of the subway in 1985. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: Type 5, 5803, awaits its next trip into Boston at the Northeastern "pocket track". (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


On April 14, 1945, the operation of multiple-unit PCC cars commenced. PCC cars had been in operation in the subway since the arrival of the first test group (3002-3021) in 1941. None of those first cars were capable of running in multiple-unit. The multiple-unit PCCs began arriving in 1944, but a disagreement with the union on car staffing and pay rates prevented them from operating in trains. A three-car train of Center entrance cars required four people; a motorman, and three conductors. Conversely, a three-car train of PCC cars required only three people; a motorman, and two conductors. Once the issue was settled, PCC trains began rolling.

On August 29, 1947, after a long period of financial difficulties, The Boston Elevated Railway Co. was purchased by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The new organization, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), took over all of the BERy operations. Since the Commonwealth of Massachusetts now operated the system, all of the functions of the Boston Transit Commission and other state agencies responsible for "fringe" work for the subway system were slowly absorbed by the new MTA.

In 1952, the inner tracks at Haymarket were closed, and by 1953 were filled in with concrete creating one very large island platform. Fare collection was moved to a central location in the station to allow a single collector to handle the entire station. Switches were installed south of Haymarket to permit movement of cars through the Brattle loop.

Subway service to City Point in South Boston was terminated in 1953. After the closing, the tracks for the Tremont Street route were realigned to use the former South Boston portals. This change made a more gradual curve into the subway, reducing rail wear and noise, and allowing a larger platform.

In 1954, the northbound platform at Scollay was lengthened over the Brattle Loop track and into the tunnel. This gave the MTA the ability to berth two three-car trains of PCC cars simultaneously.

In 1955, the MTA opened Science Park station on the Lechmere Viaduct. This stop provided access to areas of the West End and the new Museum of Science.

Between 1958 and 1963, the northerly stairways and kiosks at Boylston station were removed from service and torn down.



This sign is another dandy. Have your rapid transit map ready while you read this one, which used to hang above the Boylston northbound platform.


In 1959, the MTA opened the Riverside line along the Boston & Albany's Highland Branch. The new route required the relocation of streetcar equipment to the new line, forcing the conversion of the Cambridge trolley lines to trackless trolleys. Construction on the Highland Branch began on July 10, 1958, and on July 4, 1959 the trolleys began rolling. The line branched off of the Beacon Street tunnel, ran through Brookline and Newton, and was an immediate success, but more so than the MTA ever expected. Throngs of suburban commuters, trying to avoid traffic jams, parked at the new park-and-ride lots along the line and squeezed into the trolleys. The new line put increasing amounts of pressure on the aging fleet of PCC cars and the subway.

An indirect victim of the success of the Riverside line was the relatively light Lenox Street line. The Lenox Street loop was a short-turn of the former North Station - Egleston via Tremont Street trolley line. In 1956, the line was cut-back to Lenox Street and buses were substituted over the rest of the route. By 1961, the new managers at the MTA had taken a decidedly "anti-streetcar" approach, and sought to eliminate the remaining street-running trolley lines. Lenox Street was an easy target, due to its the lack of ridership. The line was closed on November 18, 1961.

A survivor of the Lenox Street line was a shuttle between Boylston and the Pleasant Street incline. Bus connections to Lenox Street and Egleston were made at the portal. The shuttle, operated with ex-Dallas PCCs, was a miserable failure and was ended on April 6, 1962. The bus line (now the Route 43) was extended from the incline to the corner of Park and Tremont Streets in the 1970s, after years of trying to make a trolley connection that no longer existed. The 43 bus presently loads on Tremont Street right next to the Park Street kiosks. The end of the trolley shuttle ended the need for the Pleasant Street incline. It remained dormant until 1975, when the property was sold and built upon. The Church of all Nations now sits on the site of the incline.


The Pleasant Street Incline...


Left: On May 7, 1901, a trolley uses a temporary platform to access the subway. The El train is making test runs prior to the opening of the El. (Photo: Sprague Library)
Center: This 1946 view of the incline shows a brand-new All-Electric PCC climbing out of the subway headed to South Boston. (Photo: The Boston Transit Album, Bradley H. Clarke, 1977)
Right: A car from Tremont Street descends into the subway in the late 1950s. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


Two angles of ex-Dallas PCCs on the Boylston shuttle. (Both Photos: Edward A. Anderson)


On October 6, 1962, unusually heavy rains in the Boston area caused the Muddy River in Brookline and the Fenway to overflow its banks and flow onto the Highland Branch's right-of way. Previously, events like this were not much of a problem, but the new subway connection for the Highland Branch turned the subway into a drain. Water flowed unimpeded into Kenmore station. The subway in the area was out of service until October 11th when the mess was finally cleaned up and the damage was repaired. After the flood, a portable dam was constructed and placed at the Fenway portal in case such an event should reoccur. Twenty-four years later, history would repeat itself.

October 28, 1963, the Tremont Street subway between Scollay and Haymarket was diverted into a new northbound tunnel. The new Boston City Hall required the demolition of sections of the original subway under Cornhill Street. The new tunnel runs under what is now City Hall Plaza, bypassing the station stop at Adams. Scollay was modified to match the new tunnel alignment. Adams Square station was closed, and its connecting tunnels were abandoned. With the opening of the realigned subway, Scollay was renamed Government Center. A new fare lobby was opened at street level, and a new north-to-south turn-back loop was put into service in November 1964.

Adams Square never really had the popularity of the other stations. It was a northbound only station from the beginning of service in 1897. Adams was relatively small and had few modifications made to it after the high-platforms for the Main Line were removed. A large fence divided the outer (through) track from the inner track. By 1936, access from the inner platform to the street was via an exit only stairway. The collector was positioned to take fares on the outer platform only. The inner platform was closed in 1952, and the tracks were realigned with a switch to the outer platform for the rare occasion that the Brattle loop was used. By the end of 1953, the station was open only on weekdays, and by 1954, the collector at the station was removed. Access to the station from 1954 until the station was closed was through an "iron-maiden" turnstile, similar to those in use at Kendall and Central stations today.

Also in 1963, the southernmost northbound kiosk at Park Street was removed. The area vacated by the kiosk was converted into a new administrative office for Central Subway operations. During 1964, the track layout at Park Street was altered. The "outer loop" (both inner and outer tracks had loops to this point) was eliminated. A switch was installed on the southbound track permitting access to the inner platform for cars arriving from Government Center.



Left: The Park Street southbound entry kiosk in the end of 1975. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Center: PCC 3110 loads at Park Street bound for Watertown in 1969. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: 3177 loads for Celveland Circle in 1971. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


Left: A general picture showing Park Street southbound in 1971. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: A car unloads its passengers before rounding the loop in May of 1971. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


Two photos of 3240 on the northbound platform in 1971. (Both Photos: Edward A. Anderson)



Left: The Boylston northbound kiosk in 1991. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Center: Car 3069 is the last car from Lenox Street in 1961. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: One of the various pieces of work equipment for the subway takes temporary residence on the northbound, outer track at Boylston in 1964. Note the still active underpass in the corner of the photo. (Collection of: Edward A. Anderson)


Left: A PCC car loads at the northbound inner track in 1971 bound for North Station. This was where the first car made its first stop in the subway in 1897. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Center: Type 5, 5734, shortly after returning to Boston from the Seashore Trolley Museum, sits on the southbound outer track in 1979 while Museum volunteers correct a problem. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: LRV 3503 loads at Boylston station in 1997. (Photo: Scott Moore)


On August 3, 1964, the MTA was made into the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to take advantage of newly available federal funding, and to allow the expansion of the service district from 14 cities and towns to 78. The MBTA actively pursued making the system easier for people to identify and understand. The MBTA changed the name of Mechanics station to Prudential on December 3, 1964, and Massachusetts to Auditorium on February 18, 1965, to note the two new landmarks near the stations.

On August 26, 1965, the MBTA gave the four main transit lines colors to more easily identify them. The trolley subway was named the Green Line. This was recommended by the consulting firm with whom the MBTA contracted to improve the system's image. The bulk of the consultant's ideas, like the color coded lines, the "circle T" logo, and the new graphics are still in use today. One of the ideas that the consultant recommended was to paint the transit equipment in a grey and white scheme, with a black belt-rail and yellow doors. The MBTA began painting Green Line equipment in these colors in 1966. By 1971 the MBTA was dissatisfied with the new color scheme, and was repainting cars in either the MTA's tangerine, cream, and silver, or the MBTA's in-house brew of green and white with grey trim. The green scheme would prevail (varied somewhat with the LRVs and Type 7s) for almost 25 years.

On June 17, 1967, the Canal Street Loop was closed to facilitate construction of the new Orange Line to Malden and Melrose. The loop was reopened for a week on September 9, 1967, but closed again as working around the active trolley loop was proving troublesome. The loop was finally reopened on December 26, 1970.



Left: PCC 3228 leads a two-car train on its way to Lechmere in 1969. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: Car 3250 leads a "deuce" down the incline as seen from the former Orange Line platform at North Station. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


Left: LRV 3446 glistens in the artificial light at the Canal Street platform at North Station in December of 1977. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: Both Type 5, 5734, and Type 3, 5164, were at one time passenger cars in the subway. The Type 3 was converted to a snow plow in 1927, as deliveries of the Type 5s were coming to an end. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


On August 17, 1967, the first MBTA station modernization was completed. In just over a year, Arlington station was transformed into the modern concept of what the MBTA had to offer its patrons. The line's new color was included in the motif of the station, as well as new graphics, system maps, and images of local landmarks. Escalators were updated and fluorescent lighting was installed. Since then stations have been modernized to varying degrees of the same theme used in the 1967 rehabilitation of Arlington.

Also in 1967, the second entrance at Haymarket was closed to facilitate the construction of the new City of Boston Parking Garage. Passengers were required to use the Orange Line entrance to access the Green Line. As part of this work, the section of four-track subway just south of Haymarket station was revamped into a new Haymarket station. The Brattle loop tracks were removed and a new platform was built over the trackway. The new station was opened on May 10, 1971 and the original station was abandoned. The original station is still visible today, as cars to Park Street presently travel across the remnants of the old platform as part of the North Station construction.



Left: PCC 3315 pauses at the original Haymarket station in 1969. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Center: Ex-Dallas PCC 3322 poses for photographers at the new, but still incomplete, Haymarket station in June of 1969. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: PCC 3240 takes on passengers at the new Haymarket station southbound in May, 1971. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


Left: LRV 3446 stops at Haymarket station southbound in 1978. Note the repainting which has taken place. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: A southbound LRV passes the remnants of the old Haymarket station on its way to the new one in 1978. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


In 1968, the underpass connecting the inbound and outbound platforms at Boylston station was closed to the public.

Through the 1970s, work was performed in the subway to install fluorescent lights in the tunnels, dry standpipes for firefighting, and cabling for improved radio communications in the subway.

On December 30, 1976, the first Boeing LRVs entered service on the Green Line. These were the first new cars purchased for the Green Line since 1951. The cars had many of problems, but provided passengers with comforts unlike the older PCC cars. The new cars measured 72 feet in length, were articulated, and double-ended. For more information on the Boeing LRVs in Boston, please see: Boston's Green Line Crisis.

On June 16, 1977 the Canal Street loop was closed and the facility was made into a three track stub-end terminal for use by the LRVs. Single-end PCCs were banned from the facility. Canal Street was reopened on December 15, 1977.

During 1977 and 1978, Park Street was given a major facelift, which included new tile floors, new lighting, and new graphics in the station. Along with this modernization was the opening of the Winter Street Concourse, which allowed pedestrian access to Washington station on the Orange Line. This tunnel had existed since 1915, but remained unused and hidden behind false walls. The area was dressed up in the same motif as Park Street station and has become a popular connection between the Green Line and the Orange Line.



Left: As part of the station modernization for Park Street, this mural was constructed on the southbound wall track. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Center: Near the end of the days in which the All-Electric PCC cars would operate in Boston, 3211 prepares to depart for the Arborway in 1978. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: Shortly before its preservation in 1979, 3295 also loads up for the Arborway in late 1978. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


Left: LRV 3529 loads for Government Center on the northbound platform in 1978. Compare this image to one of 3240 some seven years earlier. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Center: The very last Reservoir-based PCC car departs Park Street for Cleveland Circle on June 26, 1982. After this, PCCs in the subway were only used in Huntington Avenue service. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: Park Street had changed somewhat over the next ten years, as this 1988 shot of 3632 shows. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


These three shots depict the second modernization of Park Street after 1993. The left shot shows the southbound track, while the center and right shots are of the northbound track. (Left and Center Photos: Edward A. Anderson, Right Photo: Scott Moore)


On March 17, 1980, three Canadian LRVs from Toronto, Canada, (4027, 4029, and 4031) began revenue service on the Green Line. The cars, built by Hawker-Siddeley of Canada, were being tested to evaluate their performance as a possible final replacement of the PCC car. Although the tests of the CLRV were deemed a success, the MBTA instead opted to contract with Kinki-Sharyo of Osaka, Japan, in 1983 for 100 new "Type 7s".



Left: On May 2, 1971, PCC 3179 loads at Auditorium outbound. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)
Right: On loan from the Toronto Transit Commision, car 4031 leads a two-car train of CLRVs at Auditorium inbound. The CLRVs were operating Riverside to Park Street in this view taken on May 11, 1980. The time that the CLRVs were in Boston is believed to be the only time that they ran in multiple-unit while in revenue service. Compare the two images to see Auditorium before and after modernization. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)



PCC 3225 loads at Government Center in May of 1969. The myriad of signs at Government Center were designed to line up with the left-hand door of the PCC. Passengers waiting for Riverside cars would wait under one of the three Riverside signs located on the southbound platform. This staggered berthing was designed to improve the passenger traffic flow on the southbound track. This policy was effectively abandoned when the PCCs stopped serving Government Center after 1982. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


In 1981 and 1982, Boylston and Symphony stations were closed from time to time. Both stations had relatively light patronage and the budget crunch at the time forced the MBTA to cut costs. Both would reopen as the budget situation improved. Also, the underpass at Boylston, which had originally been closed off to the public in 1968, was finally sealed in 1981.

On December 28, 1985, the last PCC car to operate in regular service departed Park Street station at just after midnight. The two-car train consisting of cars 3235 and 3261 made their final journey to the Arborway. Today, service is provided on the Huntington Ave. branch as far as the Heath Street loop. For more information, please see: Arborway Memories.

Through the 1980s and into the 1990s a variety of projects have been performed over time to help keep the 100 year old system modern. The Green Line was shut-down, in sections, on nights and some weekends to facilitate the relaying of track in the subway. As part of the track work, the Kenmore track pit, the Blandford Street incline, and the Northeastern incline, were filled in with rock ballast to support the weight of the new Type 7s. The tunnel walls were opened where cracks had formed over the years, and were then filled and waterproofed. New constant tension catenary began to appear in the late 1980s as the LRVs and newer Type 7s all collected power from pantographs. Additional power substations were installed to better handle the larger power loads of the newer equipment. The new substations are located at the Kenmore Loop (though cars are still able to use the facility), the former Boylston Street incline, and Boylston Station, and new power cabling was installed throughout the subway. New ventilation shafts were also added throughout the subway to add more fresh air into the subway in the event of a fire or other emergency.

On August 4, 1986, car 3604 made the first revenue service run of a Type 7 in Boston. The cars had been heavily tested and were much anticipated at the time. By the end of the year, 32 cars were in service and operating splendidly.


Green Line Service During Track and Tunnel Work...


Buses provided frequent Green Line shuttle service during the 1980s. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


In 1992 and 1993, Park Street station was again given a face-lift. New lighting and graphics were installed, and track numbers were assigned to the six tracks operating through the facility (tracks 5 and 6 are the Red Line tracks). Also, the Administrative Office installed in 1963 was removed from the station.

By early 1994, in an attempt to handle a budget crunch, collectors were removed from Symphony and Prudential stations in the Huntington Avenue subway. Symphony outbound had required that fares were paid on the car sunce the early 1960s, but the collector on the inbound platform remained. Prudential station has a collector during peak hours, but otherwise the stations are now unattended. Both stations have had token vending machines and police call boxes installed on the platforms.

In 1996, the Park Street information booth was closed as part of a budget cutting plan. The information booth was installed at Park Street when the subway opened to assist passengers with information and schedules on the numerous streetcar routes operated in the city. In later years, the schedule information included bus route schedules, system maps, and other general information. With the advent of the telephone, the internet, and the myriad of locations with which passengers can get printed schedule information, the booth was closed. The most recent incarnation of the information booth still exists, but it used as an Inspectors booth.

Also in 1996, grey colored cars returned to the subway. Cars 3612 and 3623 were painted in a grey and teal scheme. The grey scheme was later modified with a more "silvery" grey. All of the Type 7s are now being painted in these colors, and the new Type 8s are expected to be delivered in this scheme as well.

On October 20, 1996, unusually heavy rains fell on the city of Boston. The Muddy River began to rise as it had in 1962. By the time the last drops of water were pumped from the subway, the estimate was that over 40 million gallons of water were removed. The damage to cables, signals, pump rooms, and track switches was extensive. As of this writing, there are still segments of the subway operating with a temporary signalling system. For more information on the 1996 flood, please see: The Green Line Flood of 1996.

In 1997, work was completed to relocate the Green Line to the former Orange Line portals at the Causeway Street incline. This was to facilitate construction of the new "Super Station" at North Station, where both Orange Line and Green Line trains will operate from the same facility. The elevated structure over Causeway Street will be eliminated. The plan includes running the Green Line underground through North Station and emerging on the western side of the new FleetCenter (where the Bruins and the Celtics now play). A tunnel was incorporated into the design of the new arena to permit the relocation of the line.

Relocation work had been on going for some time, and the project presently has changed the face of North Station forever. The Canal Street facility was closed permanently on March 28, 1997, as was the northbound ramp up to the El structure from the portal. On March 31, the new northbound track was in service. Two weeks later, the southbound track was replaced, and the old ramps up to the El were demolished. Fare collection at North Station has been moved into the lower mezzanine of the El station. Elevators have been added to provide access for people with disabilities. For more information on the continuing work at North Station, please see: North Station Green Line Relocation.



Left: A three-car train of PCCs in the Canal Street loop in 1967. (Photo: Larry Mills)
Right: A Type 7 in the Canal Street station in 1994. (Photo: Scott Moore)


Left: The Canal Street facility has been closed, and the incline to the El has been demolished. This was the scene on October 21, 1997. Note the new stairway leading down. (Photo: Scott Moore)
Right: A two-car train of Type 7s heads toward the new incline down to the subway on October 21, 1997. (Photo: Edward A. Anderson)


The future of the Green Line and the Tremont Street subway will include the commencement of service with the new Type 8 cars in the next few years. These low-floor cars will make the Green Line accessible to people in wheelchairs, and will operate in multiple-unit trains with the Type 7s. All of the station platforms on the Green Line are to be raised about eight inches to reduce the step between the edge of the new car and the platform. The Type 8s should also allow for the operation of three-car trains to help further alleviate the congestion in the subway.

Other predictions for the Green Line in the future would be fruitless as no one can predict the future accurately. The subway will survive in one form or another. When asked of any predictions, I can only think of a man in 1897 trying to envision the operation in place today. He would have a difficult time comprehending the thought of today's system and equipment. It's safe to say that in 1897, he was happy that the subway was open, and working for him, and that his streetcar wasn't still being pulled by a horse!


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