Remnants of Abandoned Stations, Tunnels, and Station Entrances found on the MBTA

by Jonathan Belcher

A note from your site maintainer:
I don't know about you, but I've always found the subject of abandoned stations and tunnels an interesting subject, and don't ask me why! Jonathan has compiled an extensive list of sites (including a few that I never knew of!) here and listed them out rather carefully. I have some photos of some of these locations, and I'm sure that others out there have some too, either before they were abandoned or after. As soon as I lay my hands on my photos, I plan to add them to this page! I ask that if you know someone who has any photos of these locations, or have any of your own, could you please e-mail me (NETransit@aol.com) so we can add those pictures to this page? Any assistance you can provide would be appreciated!


Green Line -

Haymarket:

The original Haymarket station, replaced by a relocated station on May 10, 1971, is still visible just north of the existing station.

 

Government Center:

A small portion of the original "Brattle loop" of Scollay Square station is still intact and was never modernized. It can best be seen by riding a Lechmere-Government Center car.

In 1963, Scollay Square Station became Government Center. At that time, the northbound tunnel had been relocated to make way for the new City Hall complex. The change-over occurred on October 28th, and Adams Square Station was closed. Much of the original tunnel from Scollay to Adams, and from Adams to Haymarket, including Adams Square Station, were demolished. However, a small tunnel remnant is still used by the MBTA as a utility room and another small portion is used by City Hall as an underground records storage area.

Park Street:

The Temple Street exit/entrance is closed and now used as a utility room and emergency exit. This was last used in the December, 1976.

Boylston Street:

A direct entrance from the Little Building to the Northbound platform is sealed and now blocked by an electrical substation. A passageway connecting the northbound and southbound platforms was sealed in July, 1968.

The tunnel south from Boylston to the corner of Tremont and Broadway (now Charles Street extension) was abandoned on April 6, 1962. The portal was sealed and replaced by a park in 1975. There were no stations in this tunnel. Between June 10, 1901, and November 30, 1908, Washington Street El trains used the Tremont Street Subway. A high-platform station was located at Pleasant Street in a cut outside the portal. There is no part of this cut or station in existence today.

Tunnel between Boylston and Arlington:

The remnants of the Charles Street incline (closed February 14, 1941), the Public Gardens incline (closed September 6, 1914), and provision for a proposed tunnel to Post Office Square (never built) can all be seen in the same area. The Charles incline was between the present inbound and outbound tracks, with the Public Garden incline was opposite to the north, and the Post Office Square provision to the South.

Arlington:

There is a closed passageway connecting the Arlington St. fare collection area with a stairway entrance on the Public Garden side of the Arlington / Boylston crossing. A remnant of this passageway is used as a storage area.

Hynes Convention Center / ICA (ex-Auditorium, nee-Massachusetts):

Massachusetts was opened in 1914. A surface level-surface vehicle transfer station was later opened on November 29, 1919. In January 1963, this surface terminal (by then used by buses) was closed and partially demolished to allow construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike extension. The remains of the station not torn down were converted to parking and still later into a new electrical sub-station for the Green Line. The front of this sub-station faces Newbury Street and is covered with a mural. There are closed off passageways which still connect the former surface station area with the fare collection area, and with the northbound platform of the Green Line station.

A passageway opened in January 1963 from the fare-collection lobby to the far side of Massachusetts Avenue was closed by the early 1980s.

Kenmore:

A portion of the original Governor's Square portal, opened in 1914 and closed in 1932 when Kenmore station and the Blandford and St. Mary's portals were opened, remains as a ventilation shaft. It is visible in the park located just east of the Kenmore busway.

Symphony:

There is a sealed passageway connecting northbound and southbound platforms which was used until around 1961.


Blue Line -

Bowdoin:

The tunnel extends beyond the Bowdoin loop to a portal sealed since October 23, 1952, on Cambridge Street at Russell Street. The trackage is electrified and used to store disabled trains in emergencies.

Government Center:

The Hanover Street entrance/lobby, closed in 1925 remains as an emergency exit. It is planned to reopen this entrance when the platforms are extended for 6 car trains. Sections of the platform, complete with Scollay Under signs, are visible at both East and West ends of the platform.


From Left to Right: The western end of Government Center station is still almost untouched from the 1920s. Need proof that trolleys operated on the Blue Line? Well the second photo shows what is beyond the eastern end of the high platform -- the trolley platform. There's not much of it left, and it's hard to see, but you can still peek around the end wall of the station and see it! The Scollay Under sign is also easily visible behind the wall.


Court Street:

Court Street station was the original terminus of the East Boston tunnel from December 30, 1904, to November 1914, when the extension to Bowdoin was opened. To extend the tracks, the floor of Court Street was removed, and the tunnel built below. This allowed the new tunnel to pass underneath the Scollay Square station of the Tremont Street subway. Scollay Under was built to replace Court.

Court Street was on the same level as the Tremont Street subway, and was only separated by a thin wall. A passageway connected Court to Scollay (upper). Court Street has remained abandoned and without a floor since. In the late 1980s/early 1990s, the space was converted into a ventilation room. It can best be viewed from the Green Line Government Center station in the summer, when the vent grates are open.

State:

The passageway and entrance from the Exchange Building to the Eastbound platform is closed but still visible. Previously the passage was an unmanned entrance until the fare increase in 1981. It was it was closed in late 1981 or early 1982 when the Exchange Building was renovated. The remnants of this passageway will be destroyed with the plan platform extension work for this station.

Maverick:

A loading / unloading area and loop for local streetcars was closed on January 5, 1952. The area, located in the middle of the station, is now walled off from the area still in use. The loop once used to turn these streetcars sits abandoned just to the west of the platform. The incline and tunnel that the streetcars used, to enter the station, is now occupied by an escalator to the surface. A rapid-transit level loop also sits abandoned to the east of the station. This was last used on January 5, 1952, as well.

The streetcar platform area is being rebuilt and incorporated into the main area of the station, as part of a reconstruction program begun in 2006.


Red Line -

Harvard:

When the line was extended to the Northwest, the new alignment required a new Harvard Station to be built. Most of the original station was demolished. A small portion of the original Harvard station (used March 23, 1912-Jan 31, 1981) and the temporary Harvard-Holyoke station (used Jan 31, 1981- September 2, 1983) remain and can be seen just as the line curves into the present Harvard station. There is also a short abandoned tunnel segment from Harvard Square, underneath Brattle Square, to Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. The Red Line's Eliot shops and the temporary Harvard-Brattle station (March 24, 1979-September 2, 1983) were once located on the site now occupied by several Harvard owned buildings.

 

Park / Downtown Crossing / South Stations:

When the Red Line was extended from Park to South Station in 1915-16, the new tunnel featured two levels. The bottom featured tracks for Rapid Transit trains, the top was intended for possible future undetermined use as pedestrian passageways and/or use by surface streetcars. As ultimately built, this upper level could not accommodate rail vehicles, only pedestrians. The top level in the Washington Street Station area became a concourse providing direct entrances to the Filene's (1912) and Jordan Marsh (1930 & 1951) department stores. Part of the top level near Dewey Square was demolished when the Dewey Square Automobile tunnel was built in 1955. In January, 1979, the section between Park Street and Washington was opened as a pedestrian passageway. The portion between Washington (now Downtown Crossing) and Dewey Square has never been opened as a public area, and is presently used by the MBTA's Revenue Department as a turnstile repair shop.

Broadway:

When opened on December 15, 1917, the station featured the rapid transit station/tunnel and above that, a short trolley station and tunnel (under Dorchester Ave from A Street to Foundry Street). The trolley tunnel and station were closed on October 14, 1919, and have remained closed since. Part of the trolley tunnel was used to create a new fare collection area for the Red Line station when it was modernized in the 1980s. Much of it remains intact otherwise, and is used as an emergency exit and storage area. The portal at Foundry Street remains visible to this day.


From Left to Right: In the 1980s, when Broadway was being modernized, passengers were forced to walk through a short stretch of the unmodernized trolley station above the rapid transit station, this Broadway sign and wall had been untouched since the subway was abandoned. Today, everyone walks through a cross-section of the trolley station. This second view is looking toward the Foundry Street end of the trolley subway. The camera is on what was the right-of-way, and the turnstiles are on what was the platform. Need proof? Check out the arch in the ceiling above the metal doors, typical of subway design in Boston during the period.


Ashmont:

There are sealed passageways on each side of the tunnel into the station leading from an abandoned entrance at Peabody Square. This was closed in 1976.

These remnants will be demolished as part of planned reconstruction for the station, as a new entrance near Peabody Sq. is to be built.


Orange Line -

Tunnel just north of Haymarket:

The alignment for the original portal of the Washington Street tunnel, north of Haymarket is still visible from the tunnel. This was last used on April 4, 1975, to connect to the Charlestown El. The portal was used by a temporary Green Line alignment from 1997 to 2004.

Downtown Crossing:

The entrance into Woolworth's basement was closed and relocated in the 1980s. Part of this entrance was rebuilt to hold MBTA offices, and a new elevator entrance to Downtown Crossing.

Chinatown:

On the southbound platform is a closed entrance onto LaGrange Street. On the northbound platform is a closed entrance to Hayward Place (once Raymond's Department Store). Both of these entrances were closed in 1972, but remain as emergency exits, and dry standpipe locations. There is a sealed, never used passageway connecting the southbound and northbound platforms.

Tunnel just south of Chinatown:

A very short abandoned segment leads to the former southern portal of the Washington Street tunnel. This was closed on April 30, 1987, when the Washington Street El was closed. The portal is now sealed and completely covered by new building construction.


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