Ashmont (Red/Mattapan Lines)

Alrighty, Ashmont, here we are! The end of the Red Line’s other branch! What do we have here? Oh, it’s just a decent terminal. Let’s see.

The busway

So, the busway is served by several routes running out to Ruggles, Mattapan, and even …Brockton?! Huh, guess I’ll be returning when I start reviewing BAT’s routes. Plus, we have the Mattapan extension’s ROW with a balloon loop. No PCCs to be seen here, though. Let’s go into the station itself.

Balloon!

Alright, so the station itself is glass-roofed and is quite modern, actually. Only nitpick are turnaround procedures, as they depend on turning trains around beyond fare control. But, whatever, it’s what it is. You’ve also got fare control, a coffee shop, and a fair amount of CharlieCard machines. In terms of aesthetics, I like it, and it even has the ringing bells for departure like the other termini. Yay!

Glassy!
Fancy!
LOVE THOSE HEADWAYS!!!
I genuinely like Ashmont for what it is.
Who the hell calls it Peabody Square?

The good: It’s got a number of buses, BAT, and it’s the terminal for both the Red Line and the Mattapan extension. Also, the glass aesthetics are just PERFECT for here. However…

The bad: There’s supposedly a Pedal & Park, but I didn’t see it anywhere. Also, the fact two trains can’t lay over on the platform at once is annoying, as is the lack of BAT fare machines. What were they thinking? Yeah, those are my major nitpicks. Also, fare-controlled transfers from the Mattapan to the Red?

Nearby points of interest: Ehhh, there’s a few businesses nearby, but it seems mostly residential at a glance.

Transit connections: Red Line, Mattapan Extension, MBTA bus (15, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 45, 215, 217, 240), BAT (12)

Overall, it’s a pretty decent station, even has inter-RTA transfers. Only issue is that there’s no fare machines for that “other RTA” or controlled transfers between the Red and Mattapan.

Rating: 8.5/10

Arlington (Green Line)

I’LL TELL YOU HWAT, MY NAME IS HANK HILL AND I SELL PROP- oh, not Arlen. Alrighty, fine, fine. Welcome to Arlington Street. Goddammit. Man, the Central Subway gets a bit tedious. Fortunately, this is the last station!

Helvetica!

Arlington’s located at the intersection of Boylston and Arlington Streets, at the southwestern corner of the Boston Common. Looking around, it’s REALLY, REALLY disgusting and dingy! YIKES. Plus, this feels like the backrooms. At least crossovers are free and it’s accessible!

See ya!

Yeah, it’s also not too well lit on the tracks, but whatever. Moving on to upstairs, the ceilings are freakin’ disgusting, and apparently there’s restrooms here! Sadly, I didn’t peek, nor did Miles have any insight on them from when he made his bathroom map. Oh yeah, history! The headhouses also look old, like your stereotypical old-school subway headhouse.

Another train peeks in
History!
EWW THOSE CEILING STAINS DEAR GOD
Enter if you dare
The stairs. Yeah, they look a lot like Kenmore’s.

The good: It’s at the Boston Common! It’s also a short walk from the opposite end of Newbury Street from where Hynes is located. There’s also a couple of bus connections here too, and it’s accessible.

The bad: It’s freakin’ DINGY! I’d argue, it’s WORSE than Hynes, as the ceilings NEED a powerwash. I should’ve worn gloves when holding to the escalator handrails.

Nearby points of interest: Newbury Street and the Boston Common!

Transit connections: Green Line, MBTA bus (9)

Overall, eww. I hate this station even more than Hynes. And, since the ceilings grossed me out enough, I can’t score this high. Bleugh!

Rating: 3/10

Kenmore (Green Line)

Ah, the venerable Kenmore. The closest rapid transit stop to Fenway Park, and the one where all the sports nuts flood to during baseball season. What do you hide?

The Citgo sign looms ahead, from Lansdowne

Walking to here from Lansdowne proved to be an easy enough affair: just walk down Brookline Avenue, and right down US-20. And, sure enough, I was soon met with Kenmore’s glass-canopied busway.

Kenmore’s got a busway?!

So, I went into the station itself with its old school-feeling stairs down, and was greeted with a lot of green. There’s also plenty of sports-themed advertising around here, and even some history! Neat! Unfortunately, the platforms aren’t much to talk about aside from the quad-tracking design.

Down the stairs!
Historical photos!
NBA ads!
Yep, one of the few quad-tracked stations on the system
Green tiles galore!
LET’S GET KINKI!

The good: It’s not dingy like Hynes or Arlington! I’ll give it that much, and it’s better-lit! Furthermore, it has an actual busway! I’m also sure it’s enough to handle a bunch of rowdy Sox fans. The tracks are also organized, with the B branch getting two, and the C and D sharing two. You also have multiple ways in, via passageways and elevators!

The bad: Eh, I’m not sure if light rail can handle sports surges, but whatever. They sure like pipes, though!

Nearby points of interest: Fenway Park & the Citgo sign!

Transit connections: Green Line (B, C, D), MBTA bus (8, 19, 57, 60, 65)

Overall, it’s a decent enough station. At the least, it’s better than Hynes, and isn’t as grossly dingy. Plus, it’s accessible! Furthermore, buses actually have a proper busway to turn in and out of!

Rating: 7.5/10

Hynes Convention Center (Green Line)

Oh boy, Hynes! Let’s take a look at one of Boston’s conv- wait, what? OH, it’s a Green Line station. Alright. Goddammit. Let’s look at the Hynes Green Line station.

The train I took to Hynes, from Kenmore

Alrighty, so I got off the train after arriving from Kenmore and WHEW IS IT DINGY AS HELL! Oh GOD. Buzzing lights, concrete, bricks everywhere. Dear GOD is it terrible! Bleugh! Even the mezzanine is the same way. Accessibility? Forget about it! Although, I’ll at least give the T credit for investing in the installation of elevators here for accessibility. The headhouse is signed though, and there’s a bus stop with a large shelter across from the station, serving….just the 1. Yeah. It’s dingy, but not much else to say aside from the lack of ADA compliance.

Helvetica!
Type 8!
That’s very dingy!
The mezzanine!

The good: It’s by the namesake convention center! There’s also plenty of shopping around Newbury Street, with it even being closed to vehicles at times. The bus shelter is also decently-sized, if it’s still there.

The bad: It’s really dingy! And it’s not accessible!

Nearby points of interest: The station’s namesake and Newbury Street!

Transit connections: Green Line (B, C, D), MBTA bus (1)

Overall, I’m not big on this one. Yes, there’s a lot of shopping and a convention center, but the station itself is dingy and grossly dated. At least there’s also bus service!

Rating: 4/10

Columbus Avenue (MBTA)

Um, yeah, this is a bit awkward. So, I guess, I’ll say that the rule kinda is “if there’s helvetica, it counts”. Which, to my awareness, means these four stops + City Point all count. Now, there’s more to Columbus Avenue as well, including a bit of a unique thing that sets it apart from other busways in the region. Let’s look.

Walnut Avenue!

Now, all these stops have LED displays showing when the next buses are coming, have benches, T lollipops, and the Helvetica signage. But that’s not what sets these apart. What sets these apart, are how they’re configured in the road: in the center lanes.

Going out to Egelston Square, I was convinced these were absolutely dangerous and death traps, and overall just poorly placed/designed. Well, it turns out……I was proven wrong firsthand, and genuinely surprised. Walking down the 1/2 mile or so of center-running bus lanes from Walnut Ave. to Dimock St., I was genuinely surprised at how often people were actually respecting the paint, as well as how surprisingly easy it was to jaywalk. Actually, it also felt safe, I’ll add. Yeah, shocker, I’m used to yelling “HAIL MARY!” when jaywalking, but given they shrunk the lanes down to as small as doable, I was shocked to find that yes, I can actually jaywalk and not run the risk of being struck. Now, is it psychological in nature? Probably. But then I heard an ambulance rushing down Columbus Avenue and, they too used said bus lanes. Hell, even SCHOOL BUSES were using it. So, seeing all that firsthand and that they actually work BETTER, I got just one question:

WHY THE FUCK ISN’T THIS ON WASHINGTON STREET?! WHY CAN’T WE HAVE THIS FOR THE SL4 AND SL5 INSTEAD?! HOLY FUCK! THIS WOULD MAKE MILES UPON MILES OF DIFFERENCE!!!

Also, the lights looked funky like the lights on the Green Line’s median-running sections.

Weld Avenue!
Bray Street
Oops, the screen at Dimock St. is ruined!
WEEWOOWEEWOOWEEWOO!!!

The good: THESE WORK A WHOLE LOT FUCKING BETTER THAN WASHINGTON STREET’S BUS LANES – OR HELL, LITERALLY ANY IMPLEMENTATION OF BUS LANES I’VE SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE, MAYBE SAVE FOR THE CTFASTRAK BUSWAY OR THE TRANSITWAY/CHELSEA BUSWAY!!! WHY THE FUCK DON’T WE HAVE THESE ON NORTH MAIN STREET, RIDOT?! WHY CAN’T WE HAVE THESE ON WASHINGTON STREET, MBTA? MAYOR WU?!

The bad: You kinda can’t turn left, but if you’re a pedestrian, that’s a nonissue.

Nearby points of interest: Egelston Square!

Overall, HOLY FUCK WAS I WRONG ON MY PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS! WHY CAN’T WE HAVE THESE?! JUST, WHY?! THEY WORK HELLA BETTER, FEEL CONSIDERABLY SAFER, AND ARE MUCH MORE LIKELY TO BE RESPECTED!

Rating: 10/10

Yeah, I just pulled a 10/10. Rare, ain’t it? This is the kind of shit we NEED to see more often! And, for once, I’ll have to admit the T actually did something right here.

SL3 (Chelsea)

Alrighty, now the very last Silver Line entry (unless they bring a new Silver Line into service in the Boston area, that is)! Let’s look at the SL3 as a route.

That DAMN drawbridge!

So, leaving the Transitway and the Pike, we’re dumped onto local roads, where we navigate into Airport (Blue Line). However, transfers are outside fare control, so no free crossovers. You can also transfer to the Massport shuttles, neat! From here, we go waist-deep into some side streets used by 18 wheelers primarily seemingly, cross that DAMN drawbridge, and are in Chelsea. From here, we enter the busway (which is rather tight a turn) and do a straight shot down it to Market Basket. So, how does the busway stack up?

YOUR MOM HAS AN OVERSIZED BOX!!!
Tracks

The good: It’s essentially the next best thing to giving Market Basket a rapid transit link! Sure, it’d be nicer if there were wires for the buses like in the Transitway, but that’s opening an entire can of worms that I’ll only sum up with “wires bad, louder than diesel, slower, and outdated” on the basis of said Transitway. It’s also alright if you’re into foaming the Newburyport/Rockport as it’s grade crossing hell.

The bad: I can’t help but think this should’ve been fully grade separated and done as a Transitway extension (with a portal at Eastern Ave.?). But, that train’s long gone.

Nearby points of interest: Market Basket is the big one. MORE FOR YOUR DOLLAR!

GET YOUR SHRIMP SPECIALS, MOAR FOR YO’ DOLLAH!

Overall, it’s alright enough, but it’s severely hampered by traffic on the Mass Pike and THAT. DAMN. DRAWBRIDGE. GOD, I HATE IT!

Rating: 5/10 (mostly out of spite for that DAMN BRIDGE)

Eastern Ave. (Silver Line)

Alrighty, the last one! Let’s look at the final Silver Line station (that is, barring South Station, but that’s a special one 😉 Stay tuned!). Meet: Eastern Avenue.

Coming on up!

So, it’s literally the same as Box District, Bellingham Square, and Chelsea. Yeah, not much new to see here. Heated shelters and the usual. Oh, but there’s a bike rack! Albeit, it’s no Pedal & Park. That would’ve been nicer, given the proximity to the Chelsea Greenway. Oh yeah, Massport’s shuttles stop here! There’s also a parking garage for, I think, airport employees. Yeah, there’s just not a lot here. Let’s get to it.

The drawbridge looms…

The good: Well, it’s your usual Chelsea bus station. Heated shelters and whatnot are the norm. Massport also stops here, which is a bonus.

The bad: You’ll PROBABLY learn to hate this station should the drawbridge be up, if buses are held here. Also, not a lot to note.

Nearby points of interest: Airport parking and a few parks nearby!

Transit connections: Silver Line, MBTA bus (112), Massport (77)

Overall, not a lot to say here. Next entry!

Rating: 6/10

Oh, hi Massport!

Bellingham Square (Silver Line)

Alrighty, the first SL3 stop I reviewed on this trip to Boston, and Taser was with me for this one. This one features heaters, buses, even a GP40 and annoying panhandlers that kept pestering me for money! Yeah…

We’d be here for a bit…

So, just like Box District, it’s the same deal essentially. You’ve got heated shelters, buses, and whatnot. But, what sets this one apart is the street access from Arlington and 6th Streets, and Washington Avenue. Yeah, there’s at-grade access from Arlington & 6th, and a ramp from Washington. Neat. Wait, what’s that on the other side of the Rockport Line?

Is that?

Yes, indeed, it’s the old Chelsea Commuter Rail station. Indeed, it’s been left here to rot, with the outbound side outright demolished to make way for the Chelsea busway. However, its replacement didn’t open until late 2021 meaning in those three or so years, people had to CROSS THE TRACKS to get to an outbound train. Yikes. Fortunately, I don’t need to review it so it’s all cool. Some guy then started harassing me for money and cigarettes, and seeing how he wouldn’t take no as an answer, I eventually snapped and yelled “¡NO TENGO DINERO!” which seemed to shut him up and get the point across. To translate, ” I DON’T HAVE MONEY!” Oh yeah, we got to see a GP40 and F40 run through.

I do believe that’s Chelsea!
And the crossing signals!
And then they blasted the horns!
geepeefourty
Oh yeah, this one had a ramp.

The good: There’s ramp access from one side, and grade access to the other! Neat! Aside from that, it’s just a carbon copy of Chelsea and Box District. There’s also history of what was once was, with the old Chlesea (CR) station being behind here left to rot. This also happens to be the closest thing to Chelsea’s town center, so take that as you will.

The bad: Not a lot to talk about here.

Nearby points of interest: Chelsea’s town center is close by!

Transit connections: Silver Line, MBTA bus (112 @ Sixth Street, 111 @ Washington Ave.)

Overall, it’s largely copy-paste, but it’s still slightly better with the connectivity to the street.

Rating: 6.5/10

Box District (Silver Line)

Alrighty, chronologically the second in the three parter where I finish up the Silver Line, but the first one I’m writing about. From here, Taser left for home while I review this station, along with Bellingham Square and Eastern Avenue. Let’s dig into it.

Helvetica!

So, there’s not really a lot to talk about with the Chelsea busway’s stops in general. You’ve got the Helvetica, bus shelters (with heaters – yay!), and a bike path. Instead, what’s around the Box District? What even IS the Box District? I don’t know. Lemme do research.

*does research*

Apparently it’s the local area’s name. Weird, but alright. As for what’s around, there’s not a lot. Just housing. Bus connections can also be had on Broadway.

Bus leaving!
Shelters on the other side

The good: It’s in a residential neighborhood, has a bike path, and has heaters! Say, did Ned Lamont have a say in this?

The bad: Not a lot to talk about with this station. It’s average.

Nearby points of interest: Not a lot, there’s a few shops on Broadway though! However, not a lot stands out.

Transit connections: Silver Line, MBTA bus (116, 117)

Overall, it’s average. But, sometimes, average isn’t bad, and plus it’s got heaters. RIPTA could take a few notes. Hell, the Green Line could take a few notes even!

Rating: 6/10

I’ll also add, I can’t help but think of that one bit from the Angry Nintendo Nerd’s Earthbound video when I pass this place.

SL1 (Logan Airport Terminals) & stops

So, we’ve done the SL2, SL4, and SL5, and the short-turns. All that remains are the SL1 and SL3. And hell, the SL1’s the only one I’ve never ridden as I’ve done the SL3 plenty of times. So, let’s look at this “BRT” route.

Flight departures at South Station?!

First off, before even boarding, at South Station, Taser noticed there were flight departures. Woah, I genuinely never noticed them before despite riding the Silver numerous times. But, that’s probably because I never ride the SL1. So, the bus pulls up, it’s crowded (highest ridership of the three Transitway routes!), and off to Logan Airport!

There she is!

So, after running through the usual Transitway affair and express onto the Pike, we pull off onto what I think is the last exit, and right into the terminals. Get ready, because this might perplex a few people.

First stop was Terminal A. Nothing to note here, there’s at least signage here (and at all the stops). Terminals B’s two stops, and C’s stop were much of the same, as we weaved by every terminal. Terminal E, internationals, was also largely the same. People got on and off at each stop (predictably), with slightly longer dwell times than normal at each one due to loading luggage onto the racks. Yes, these Neoplans had luggage racks! After Terminal E, we were back onto the Pike and into the Transitway. You’ll ask, “where’s Terminal D?” Well, that doesn’t exactly “exist”, so to say.

Terminal A!
Terminal B, stop 1!
Terminal B, stop 2!
Terminal C!
Screw you, CBP! Also, Terminal E!
Oh no, dots!

The good: Well, if we look at the Silver Line as a rapid bus (e.g. same class as the R Line), then the SL1 is a pretty damn decent airport express bus. Sure, it’ll get clogged up on the Pike pretty easily, but for what it is, it stops curbside at the terminals, and runs express to the Transitway. Besides, unlike most other airport buses I’ve ridden to this point, it’s got luggage racks! The terminals are also your only officially free entryway into the subway system, too!

The bad: Unfortunately, it’s not true “rapid transit”. In fact, I’d argue the case for a people mover between the terminals, and some combination of Airport and South Station. Moreso, given that the Silver Line (and the SL1 mostly) is at the behest of mixed traffic beyond the Transitway.

Nearby points of interest: You’re not gonna get a lot in the way of points of interest at Logan. But you can change for the Red Line, Commuter Rail, Amtrak, and the other Silver Line routes at South Station!

Overall, it’s alright. As a normal or rapid bus route, it’s pretty good. But, as BRT, as the T advertises, it kinda sucks. But, hey, you can get into the subway for free! Neat! Hmmm, I wonder how many terminals one could touch before needing to leave fare control?

Rating: 5/10