Alrighty, now the last of the Orange Line stations! So, if Oak Grove to the north is a sleepy park & ride, how does Malden Center stack up?
Well, for one, this is Malden’s major transfer center, between buses, the Orange Line, and the Commuter Rail. The platform is your standard affair, benches and wastebaskets. Also, did I mention the station’s elevated? Yeah, that’s a neat thing is it’s the rare elevated MBTA station! There’s also stairs and elevators down to the mezzanine and, no, it doesn’t smell like piss! Holy crap, the Orange Line WON the piss test!
The mezzanine is normal enough. It’s a little small, but it gets the job done. Lastly, outside on either side is where the busways can be found. The one on the western side is smaller with a handful of routes (& private shuttles!), while the eastern busway by Commercial St. is where all the other buses are. And yes, there’s concrete. We end this out with BRUTAL architecture.
Then there’s the Commuter Rail, where the Haverhill Line stops. Yes, it is single-tracked, like it’s the northside Old Colony. Double tracking doesn’t begin until past Oak Grove, sadly. But hey, you got seating and a red dot-matrix sign! Neat! But, no departure board like at other stations (e.g. Pawtucket or Mansfield). However, did you know Malden was (as far as I can find on Wikipedia) was the first full-high Commuter Rail platform on the T?
The good: Buses! There’s a lot of transfer points with buses! The fact it’s elevated also is nice, as it stands out on the system! Furthermore, as the name suggests, it’s in Malden’s town center! And hey, there’s a Commuter Rail transfer, though who the heck is going to North Station by Commuter Rail when- actually, that’s a silly question as the Orange is ridden with slow zones galore (as of me writing this) and one could use the Haverhill as a (very infrequent) Orange Line express.
The bad: The platform on the Orange Line is a little cramped. Also, the concrete is back, but it’s not as bad as in Community College or Sully.
Nearby points of interest: Pearl St. Station seems interesting, with it being the old station building! Outside of that, you also have a football field nearby (presumably for the high school’s football team), and some stuff lining Pleasant St.!
Transit connections: Orange Line, Commuter Rail (Haverhill), MBTA bus (97, 99, 101, 104, 105, 106, 108, 131, 132, 137, 411, 430)
Overall, out of the BRUTALLY BRUTAL stations, I think this one might be the better one aesthetically and functionally. Yeah, Sully has an ungodly amount of buses, but does it have a Commuter Rail platform? No. Is it elevated? Also no. Therefore, we end the Orange Line on a decent station.