Framingham (MBTA/Amtrak)

Alrighty, Framingham! Framingham, in several ways, is like Stamford in that it divides the Worcester Line into an inner and outer zone. However, this only comes in during peak hours, where some trains express through the inner line or short-turn at Framingham. So, here we go.


So, first thing to note is there’s a mini-high here! Furthermore, you have “BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!” as trains sit at the station. Would it kill them to have “TRAIN APPROACHING, PLEASE REMAIN BEHIND THE YELLOW LINE!” instead like on the NEC? Alright, whatever, you got some benches, wastebaskets, etc., etc., and a footbridge. There’s also an elevator (WHICH BROKE AFTER I LEFT!!!), which unfortunately was a hot mess. That’s probably because of the Marathon passing and this station being a front-row seat. Furthermore, since there’s a CSX yard nearby, you can also get some action on that front here too. Oh yeah, Amtrak stops here once a day in each direction. Receive-only towards Chicago and discharge-only towards Boston, however.

And from further away!
It’s kinda nasty!
Metal footbridge!
Deadheading train!
see essex
Looking towards the station on the grade crossing!
Historic station building!

So, there’s also plenty of parking, and the MetroWest Regional Transportation Authority stops here as well! In fact, they even have a caboose (converted into an office space!) located in the aptly-named banana lot. However, since it’s Patriots Day, MWRTA wasn’t operating.

Banana lot!
I legitimately like the MWRTA paint scheme on the caboose.
A MWRTA bus stop on Waverley Street!
Train meet!
And from above!
Yeah, I’m not sure what CSX was doing, however they were moving the freight cars back and forth up the wye
More freight action and good ol’ PSR!
Marathon stuff!

The good: It’s in downtown Framingham! And, it’s even in a walkable area, has Amtrak service (albeit VERY limited), and even has a few short-turns from here to South Station. Also, I seriously dig the MWRTA caboose, it adds a bit of character not found in other stations out here. Like, where’s the GATRA caboose in Mansfield or the RIPTA one in Pawtucket?!

The bad: Really? Mini-highs still? Well, it at least makes some sense out here given heavy freight activity, but wouldn’t gauntlet tracks work? Also, the elevators are probably on the lesser reliable side given they crapped out today during the Boston Marathon.

Nearby points of interest: Well, the station building houses a steakhouse, and there’s a few parks nearby. Furthermore, it’s in the downtown area, and if you’re a railfan it’s a pretty good place to railfan CSX.

Transit connections: Amtrak (Lake Shore Ltd.), Commuter Rail (Worcester Line), MWRTA (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 15)

Overall, I really like this station. Darn, I really need to come out here more often for railfanning purposes (especially for CSX!). Only way it’d be better is if MWRTA had an indoor waiting area with restrooms for commuters and Amtrak passengers. But, as-is, it’s probably one of the better stations on the line.

Rating: 7.5/10

Anderson RTC (MBTA/Amtrak)

Wait, Amtrak runs on the north side? Well shit, guess it’s an Amtrak station review. Let’s get into this, shall we?

The station building!

So, starting off, Anderson doesn’t really have a lot in the way of local bus or transit connections, as suggested by the full name of “Anderson Regional Transportation Center”. However, you do have Logan Express, the Commuter Rail, and even the Downeaster. However, you CANNOT take the Downeaster as a Lowell Line express, as Anderson is receive-only northbound and discharge-only southbound. If you want to head southbound, you have to take the Commuter Rail. But, why would you take Amtrak to either Haverhill or Boston from here anyways, even if you could? It’s gonna be more expensive, at least double that of a zone 2 fare. Now, into the station building!

Logan Express!
The platform from afar!

So, inside, you have a yellow dot matrix sign glowing that usually reads “WELCOME TO ANDERSON/WOBURN STATION”, various amenities (including a restroom!), a Quik-Trak machine (this IS an Amtrak station, after all!), an Amtrak information booth, and seats to wait for your train. There’s also a few vending machines.

Vending machines!

Heading out onto the footbridge, it reminded me of Canton Junction with all the metal, but slightly less bad. There’s a long ramp for accessibility, a high-level island platform, more yellow dot matrix signs (no departure board anywhere?! I feel like this station would REALLY benefit from one!), and the usual benches and wastebaskets. Also, WHY IS THERE NO PEDESTRIAN ACCESS TO THE INDUSTRIAL AREA NEXT TO THE STATION?! THIS WOULD LITERALLY BE A PERFECT REVERSE COMMUTE OPPORTUNITY!!! WHAT THE FUCK?! Also, they left the pavement salt outside.

Bombardier cab car!
The sign!
Oh yeah, they also do bus training out here.
The T lollipop
The station building again
Logan Express, again!

The good: It’s a major transit hub! You got Logan Express buses to the airport, Amtrak (northbound only), and the Commuter Rail. So, you can park & ride here. Also, it has all the amenities one might want EXCEPT FOR FUCKING DUNKIN’!!!!

The bad: THEY CLOSED THE DUNKIN WHY?! JUST WHY?! Also, there’s no pedestrian access ANYWHERE. So, fuck you if you walk and don’t own a car. This station could’ve been a perfect reverse commute opportunity.

Nearby points of interest: Not much. In practice, it’s in no man’s land.

Transit connections: Logan Express, Lowell Line, Downeaster

Overall, it’s an alright station. It’s serviceable, and is probably the best station on the line. Hell, it’d be a perfect 10 IF THERE WAS A DUNKIN’ AND BETTER PEDESTRIAN ACCESS!!! Also Amtrak stops here. Woohoo!

Rating: 8.5/10

South Station (MBTA/Amtrak)

Here we go. The south-side terminus. The northern end of the Northeast Corridor and electrification. And, one of the busiest subway stations in the city. So, let’s see what South Station has. Oh, there’s also a bus terminal?! Neat!

The Red Line platform, so it starts…

The Red Line platform is alright, about average with some seating and feeling a little dingy, but nothing too egregious here. However, there are some exits that feel like they shouldn’t be used normally. But, what’s that noise upstairs? Yeah, that ain’t the only rapid transit connection here as the Silver Line also exists. Now, let’s head up and look at it.

OH NO, DIESEL! …at least there’s a bus on catenary here!


Now, I think they’re supposed to force the hybrids to run on batteries, but of the many times I’ve been down here, I’ve never seen an Xcelsior hybrid running on battery-only. And, now that I think of it, isn’t it bad to force a hybrid vehicle to run on battery-only? I’m not sure, and I don’t want to find out the T is fucking up their brand new toys so soon.

Sorry Miles, no legal name change for you!

So, coming out of the subway mezzanine, which consisted of a few brochure racks, an information booth, and a shuttered-up food tenant, we reach the concourse. But wait, there’s more! If you go LEFT at the escalator and follow a bunch of convoluted tunnels, you’ll reach the elevator! Yep, the station is accessible but it’s a maze to reach. Good luck!

This feels wrong.
This feels REALLY wrong
This gives backrooms vibes
And finally, the other side and the women’s room.

So, after the long tunnel, the elevator dumps us out at an Amtrak office and the womens room, plus near a Keolis booth. And, HOLY SHIT!

The busiest train station in New England, ladies and gents!
The food court and the men’s room.

So, out here there’s a bar, a Dunkin’, an Amtrak and Keolis information booth, with the Quik-Trak machine being by the Amtrak waiting area. You can also find the ClubAcela lounge and the station’s Red Cap agent here. Typically they’re there to provide assistance with anything within the scope of Amtrak (yes, including finding restrooms), be it baggage, accessibility, or navigation. And yes, you’re allowed to tip. There’s also plenty of seating around the main concourse as well. Near the entrance, you also have a CVS. Headhouse for the subway? It’s modern and looks beautiful, in contrast to the old (and still good-looking!) station building.

Commuter Rail & Amtrak headhouse, on Street View
Subway headhouse!
Escalator still broken!
Look Elias, brochures!
The food court

Heading out to the bus terminal, the Commuter Rail platforms is alright. Average, exposed to the elements, but nothing too crazy. There is construction above, though, which as far as I can tell is for a mixed-use office/residential development. Now, how do you access the terminal from the Amtrak/MBTA station? Well, it’s easy! You walk down track #1!!!

Well, this is modern.

The inside of the terminal is very glass-filled, to say the least. Like, they REALLY love glass. Plus, there’s a lot of stairs to get above the Commuter Rail tracks. The elevator is alright and doesn’t reek of piss at least! Once we made it into the bus terminal, the only real uncharted territory in the station, there’s just not much to it. It’s nice, modern, a little small, and has a domed glass roof, but there’s just not much of note. There’s ticketing booths for popular bus companies including Lucky Star Express and Concord Coach. It’s also pretty busy here, and I’m pretty sure it’s busy even into the night as buses oftentimes get delayed.

This is nice.
Bus system map?!
This is nice!
REALLY nice!!!
Yep, busy.
Same as before.
The elevator
Atlantic Avenue!

The good: It’s very busy! Most likely, it’s busy because of the Northeast Corridor terminating here. Either way, it’s right in the financial district, and for many people is the gateway to Boston. Take the Silver Line, and you’ll be in the Seaport and East Boston, while if you take the Red Line you can transfer to the other subway lines to head in any of the four cardinal directions. Furthermore, all 14 southside Commuter Rail lines (yes, counting branches as individual lines here) terminate as well. Also, the bus terminal isn’t far away, despite physically being separate.

The bad: The terminals should be connected together directly, rather than just via Track 1. Also, the SL4 is relegated to a curbside stop at the intersection of Essex St. and Atlantic Ave.

Nearby points of interest: Pretty much the entire city, as most people use this as the gateway to Boston. Chinatown is a short walk away, with Downtown Crossing and Cambridge, along with Dorchester, Quincy, and Braintree being accessible on the Red Line. The Silver Line also brings you to the Seaport (which, to be real, is close enough to walk to as well). You also have the Commuter Rail, which can bring you as far out as North Kingstown, RI, about 63 miles out.

Transit connections: Red Line, Silver Line (SL1, SL2, SL3, SLW in Transitway, SL4 on Atlantic & Essex), MBTA bus (4, 7, 11), Commuter Rail (Worcester, Franklin, Foxboro, Needham, Providence, Stoughton, Fairmount, Middleborough, Kingston, Greenbush), Amtrak (Northeast Regional, Acela, Lake Shore Limited)

Overall, to be quite truthful, I kinda hold this station in a special regard. Not so much because it’s a decent station (it is though, I’d be full of shit otherwise), but more because of the events that led to me pretty much making some friends, or rather internet friends that I happened to have met once or twice in person (for that saga, see the SLW entry). And, I’d like to shout out everyone who’ve I’ve met and dragged along the way now that it’s the 1-year mark of this blog. There’s several of y’all and I’m having a bit of a hard time remembering names, being on the verge of falling asleep (and admittedly, I’d feel bad if I left some names out), and I’d also like to extend a particular shoutout to Elias for dealing with my horsecrap and being dragged along for many of these journies and entries. And with that, thank you for tuning in for a whole year straight.

Rating: 10/10

Stamford (Amtrak/Metro-North/CTrail)

Next stop: Stamford!

“You are NOT the father!”, Maury would say. Oh, this is a STATION entry, not Maury. Right. Well, welcome to the Stewart B. McKinney Stamford Gateway Intermodal Transportation Center. Or, the Stamford Transportation Center. Let’s see what the….

*checks notes*

SECOND MOST-USED METRO-NORTH STATION?! Yeah. Let’s see what this sucker has to offer. This is gonna be a big one. So, buckle down, and let’s get this show on the road!

New platform under construction!

So, pulling into Stamford on the Acela, first thing I notice is the style of architecture and the new platform (from what I understand is to be for New Canaan dinks so they don’t occupy a through track). And, I’ll have to admit, I dig this kind of architecture. Platforms are concrete, modern, and have adequate lighting and shelters. However, there were no benches. This wasn’t a big deal, as there was a waiting room above the tracks. I’ll add, this was also pretty cool, and I dig the cross-braces in the windows. Speaking of the concourse, there’s Amtrak and Metro-North information desks, a convenience store, and yes, a Dunkin. Meanwhile, the northern exit will bring you out to the street with another convenience store, and the southern one to a parking garage. On the outside is another garage under construction, and a sign reading “Stewart B. McKinney Transportation Center”. Who was he? It turns out, he was a Republican representative from the ’80s, who died of AIDS and was bisexual. Yeah, bisexual Republicans. Don’t see that one every day.

Track & platform level
More parking?!
The station looms ahead…
Stewart McKinney?!
The skyline
Another cafe
The concourse!

Once on street level, you can go down further into an underground passageway, and you’ll find MTA police, a CTtransit vending machine (turned off, free fares!), a shuttered Subway, and a Greyhound office. Don’t tell Miles!

Down we go!
Shh, don’t tell Miles!
no sbubby
Platform access from below!

Now lastly, there’s the bus terminal. This has got to be among the sorriest-looking bus terminals I’ve seen. It’s like Cos Cob in that it’s under I-95, but it’s worsened by the fact it’s in the middle of a city. Yeah…… But, the berths are labelled clearly! So, props to CTtransit on that. You can also walk to track 4 on foot without entering the station’s concourses too, neat! As a downside, the elevator down here smells like urine. At least, the one I took did.

MTA police!
The station building looms

The good: It’s a beautiful piece of architecture! It really is, I legitimately dig the style of the station in general. It’s also got pretty much everything a passenger might need or want. Furthermore, you’ve got multiple ways to access the platforms, all the Stamford-area bus routes, and a crazy amount of Metro-North trains! Plus, it’s in the heart of the city as well.

The bad: …I genuinely cannot think of much. I was annoyed by the fact there was construction, but whatever.

Nearby points of interest: The city of Stamford and the bus routes, and the New Canaan line can take you to its namesake town! You’ve also got various local-owned shops, restaurants, breweries, etc., and a mall nearby. AND THERE’S A DINER?! HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

Transit connections: Amtrak (Northeast Regional, Acela, Vermonter), CTrail (Shore Line East, temporarily suspended), Metro-North (New Haven & New Canaan), CTtransit (311, 312, 313, 321, 324, 326, 327, 328, 331, 333, 334, 335, 336, 341, 342, 344, 345, 351, I-BUS), Greyhound

Overall, it’s a great station. Easily among the best I’ve seen even. It’s in a decent location, has good service for both Metro-North and CTtransit, and every Amtrak train stops here as well. As such, I think it’s worthy of a special score I reserve for a handful of stations.

Rating: 10/10

These brochures actually proved HELPFUL for research for once!
haha traffic

Bridgeport (Metro-North/GBT/Amtrak)

Oh boy. This one’s a biggie. So, we have an Amtrak station in the largest city in Connecticut, and it’s hardly used on that front. But on the Metro-North front, it’s very heavily used. So, let’s take a look. This one’s gonna be long.

The station sign
Damn, that screen can take quite the beating!

So, let’s start things off with the GBT bus terminal. It’s well-lit, modern, and has a direct (albeit long) on-foot connection to the southbound platform. Furthermore, all the berths are clearly labelled so no guesswork has to be done. Would be nice if they had schedule info here, though.

The entrance to the bus terminal from the train station
The waiting area. Yes, that’s a Dunkin’!
Get Carter!

From here, after burning my eyes out with the dots on the buses, I went back and into the station building. On the inbound side, you have the restrooms, an MTA Police booth, an MTA information booth (unstaffed), a Quik-Trak machine, a cafe, and access to the parking garage and Water Street. The station building itself is actually located directly above Water St., so that’s cool.

Stroad and a reflection
Water St., from the station building
The waiting area

Access between the platforms is done via an underpass, which also provides more street access. Elevators are also found here, as well as solicitors.

The underpass
The other side
The outbound waiting room

On the other side, you have a much smaller waiting room, with another ticket machine and schedule info. Not much to say here aside from the views of the Pequonnock River (try saying that 5 times over quickly!) and the interstate. Now, the platforms. You’ve got a lot of benches here, and it’s all fully sheltered. Yay! Furthermore, it’s pretty good for railfanning as you have the sharp curve coming from Stratford to the north (it’s like that to avoid the hockey arena), and a significant amount of trains. I was here during rush hour and was taken aback at just the sheer amount of trains within a 10 minute span (at least 7-8!) You still have the view of the river, but with how things are you can’t get too many good shots of trains with the river. Street access to Water St. can also be had from here as well, by way of stairs.

See ya? Nah, not today.
High speed my shiny metal ass!
See ya!
Some more river and I-95 goodness
A southbound Regional stopping here
And an M8!
Two of them!
A tale of two power sources
This one ain’t stopping
More diesel!
And my ride home……nice.

The good: It’s got plenty of amenities! Restaurant on-site, ticket machines, the Quik-Trak, bathrooms, a fully sheltered platform, even direct sheltered access to the bus terminal! Furthermore, it’s an amazing station to foam at, with shots of the trains coming around the curve. Plus, the fact the inbound waiting area is above Water St. is a cool thing as well, along with the shots of the river and I-95.

The bad: Why isn’t there a layover track for Waterbury trains? That’s probably the worst thing about this station.

Nearby points of interest: Downtown Bridgeport and the hockey arena!

Transit connections: GBT (all), Amtrak (Northeast Regional), Metro-North (New Haven & Waterbury Lines), Coastal Link, intercity buses, Port Jefferson Ferry, prison (via MTA police)

Overall, it’s not a bad station. Probably among the best I’ve checked out so far. It’s like someone took the foamability of Canton Junction and gave it the amenities of Route 128 and the transit accessibility of Forest Hills, and threw it into Connecticut. This is, quite possibly, among my favorite stations.

Rating: 8.5/10

New Haven Union (Amtrak/CTrail/MNRR)

Here we are. We’re at the belly of the beast. We’ve done State Street, now to do THE station for New Haven. And now, an indepth look at Union Station. So, how unifying is Union Station?

That’s not the station!

Alrighty, so starting from the street, we have a view of the rail yard where pretty much everything conceivable (for the NEC, anyways) was laying over. Hartford Line trains with MBB coaches, GP40s, and P40DCs? Yep. Amfleets with a cab car, and an Amtrak P42DC? Why not! A Regional with an ACS64 boarding? Sure! And a bunch of M8s for the Shore Line East and the New Haven Line? Absolutely! And don’t forget the Acela! There’s also a large parking garage next to the station.

A bunch of M8s
The parking garage

Now, the station itself. Out front, you have a busway where the CTtransit buses board. I think this is also where Greyhound and other intercity buses board as well, but I’m not fully sure. Nevertheless, it’s quite nice, with two entrances (and another one on either side of the station!). So, with that out of the way, let’s go right into this beast of a station.

Here’s your damn Flixbus!
They have COACH BUSES?!

Alrighty. So, upon entering, the departure board can be found, with a larger version blown up in the mezzanine. Speaking of which, the mezzanine is HUGE! You’ve got restrooms off to one side, stairs down to the platforms as well, and also an exit to the parking garage. The other side has brochures and access to (presumably employee?) parking. Further more, in the mezzanine itself, you have Amtrak and Metro-North ticket booths and a nonfunctional Quik-Trak machine. Yikes. There’s also a baggage check, a small convenience store, a Dunkin’, and Subway. Nice.

The departure board
The waiting area. Man, is it huge!
Baggage checks!
The shops in the lobby

Now, the lower area. The platforms are all connected underground by a cool-looking tube, with stairs and elevators going up, along with signs indicating what’s boarding at what platform. There’s also an Amtrak office down here, Sbarro, and another Dunkin? Huh, weird that there’s two Dunkins here. At least there’s no diesel fumes like in Back Bay. I’ll also add that the elevator between the waiting area and lower mezzanine is a bit hidden, being behind a corner and a set of stairs.

The tunnel
This feels hidden

And now, the platforms. There’s some seating, but you generally aren’t expected to wait here. There’s also, for whatever reason, vending machines on the platforms. Yeah, don’t ask. I’m not sure on the rationale either. But hey, unless someone stops you from being up here, it doesn’t seem like that awful a railfanning spot – aside from the lack of sheltering. Each platform also has electronic signage indicating departures.

An M8 laying over on the passing track
A CTrail GP40
An Amtrak P42DC on the Hartford Line
A CTrail P40DC

And with that, I’m pretty sure that’s everything that this beast has to offer.

The good: It’s pretty well utilized! I mean, second to South Station, I’m pretty sure it’s the second most-used Amtrak station in New England. The fact Metro-North and CTrail exists here also helps. Plus, you also have intercity buses that stop here, and generally it’s easy to get around. There’s also plenty of parking, if you’re the kind to bring your vehicle here.

The bad: Unfortunately though, it’s relatively isolated from downtown New Haven. That and the relative seclusion for the elevator to the tunnel from the lobby, are my main gripes.

Nearby points of interest: Pretty much all of New Haven, and places accessible by CTtransit! Also IKEA.

Transit connections: Greyhound, Flixbus, Peter Pan, Acela, Northeast Regional, Vermonter, Valley Flyer, Hartford Line, Shore Line East, New Haven Line, CTtransit (265, 271, 272, 278, 950, Union Sta. shuttle)

Overall, it’s a great station. The fact that one of the elevators is relatively isolated is annoying, but it’s not as bad as the bad geography. Now, maybe historically, the area was much better, but nowadays it just feels very isolated from the rest of New Haven.

Rating: 9/10

Oops! All diesel!

New Haven (State St.) (Amtrak/CTrail/MNRR)

Oh boy. So, before we can delve into the belly of the beast, let’s check out the mouth, so to speak. Is State St. a dud, a slam dunk, or somewhere in between? Let’s look.

Oh right, we’re at a Hartford Line station!

So, I visited this station first despite getting off the Union Station Shuttle at, well, Union Station. It’s about half a mile up the tracks from Union as well, and located much closer to downtown. It’s also a few blocks away from the New Haven Green, CTtransit’s New Haven hub, though some local and express buses do stop here. The entryway looks nice enough, with a departure board being located outside the station. Several more are also located inside. Weirdly enough, the platforms for tracks 4 & 6 have a separate entrance than track 1’s platform.

The bridge!

Near the stairs and elevators are vending machines for both CTrail (Hartford Line & Shore Line East) and Metro-North tickets. No bathrooms, however, are to be found here. On the platforms, one can find benches under canopies. Not much, but it gets the job done. As for ridership, most people generally are going to use Union Station rather than here, and as such it doesn’t exactly rank high for either Amtrak or Metro-North.

This feels like an urban hellscape
The tracks at platform level
And the other way towards Union Station!
The stairs to track 1
The track 1 platform

The good: It’s centrally located in downtown New Haven. Well, almost. Furthermore, you have a decent amount of local rail service, though most Amtrak trains just express right through without stopping. Which makes sense, since they all stop at Union Station, too.

The bad: Why couldn’t this station be Union?! Like, just why? And being in a major downtown, I would’ve expected at least a unisex bathroom or seats indoors. But again, it’s not too big a dealbreaker given the low ridership of the station. And why are there separate entrances for tracks 1 and 4/6?!

Nearby points of interest: Downtown New Haven, of course!

Transit connections: CTtransit (204, 206, 212, 223, 274, 278, 950), Shore Line East, Hartford Line, Northeast Regional (Springfield trains only), Valley Flyer, New Haven Line (Metro-North)

Overall, for what it is, it’s a decent station. It’s got a bit to be desired, but in general it isn’t bad. The biggest change I’d make, personally, though, is to put the stairs and elevator to track 1 on the same bridge as tracks 4/6.

Rating: 7.5/10

Rte. 128/University Park (Amtrak/MBTA)

Ooh, another Amtrak station! These are always a treat. So, we have a park & ride station (among the earliest in the country, built in the ’50s!) out in seemingly the middle of nowhere. Well, let’s look.


The station, getting off the platform, is very much modern. And, wouldn’t you believe it, it’s all high-level boarding! Nice! Immediately, we’re met by stairs and an escalator, behind which is the elevator to the bridge and MBTA waiting area. Yes, I’ve said it. There’s segregated areas for the MBTA and Amtrak. But, there’s also a good reason for this. Most people taking Amtrak from here are taking it southbound (you can’t even book a northbound ticket!), while most people using the Commuter Rail are heading northbound. Thoughtful design there, I shall say.

A car with its door stuck open. Yikes.
The tracks southbound
To track 2!
The tracks northbound and I-95
Pay for parking here

There’s also a giant parking garage attached. On the 2nd floor, one can find the MBTA waiting area along with a small shop. Meanwhile the 1st floor has the Quik-Trak machine, the Amtrak information desk, and a Dunkin’?! Bathrooms were also here. There are also destination boards with both Amtrak and MBTA trains. Meanwhile, the platform had both the modern MBTA-style countdown signs and the modern Amtrak signs, along with benches.

The bathrooms and information area
The Amtrak lobby
Oh crap, a delayed Regional!
Slightly less cursed
A tale of two signs
Oh, right. The Acela stops here.
There should be a third track here.

The good: It’s a decent park & ride station! For what it is, it’s got pretty much everything one would reasonably ask for, between an indoor waiting area, a Dunkin’, bathrooms, high-level platforms, and a self-service kiosk for tickets.

The bad: Why, exactly, does the Acela stop HERE of all places?! Furthermore, why isn’t there a third track so that one track can be used as a passing track (e.g. for MBTA express trains) if necessary?

Nearby points of interest: Not much, save for the recently-built shops around University Park.

Transit connections: Commuter Rail (Providence/Stoughton Lines), Amtrak (Acela, N.E. Regional)

Overall, I like the station for how modern it is. However, the fact there isn’t a 3rd track where there could be one is probably hindering service during the morning and evening commutes. It’d also be nice if there was a bus shuttle from, say, the rest of Westwood or northern Canton to here. Though, that might cannibalize ridership to Islington or Canton Junction, if that happened.

Rating: 9.5/10

Mystic (Amtrak)

So, coming off the heels of RIPTA and a Miles meet in Boston, along with some MBTA shenanigans, let’s settle down in a more quiet, slightly more remote town. Ooh, why not Mystic?

Water tower and station signage!

Alrighty, so because this is the first station in Connecticut, I got nothing to compare it to, and as a result, I’ll be using Westerly as my point of reference primarily (for context, that got a 3.5/10). Is Mystic as bad as Westerly? Is there any saving grace? Or, am I going to be denied access to track 2 due to a southbound Regional or Acela at the wrong time?

Deboarding the Regional

So, getting off the Regional, immediately I notice the station doesn’t have level boarding, or even a mini-high, for that matter. Supposedly there’s a wheelchair lift, but I don’t buy that for one minute. The station building is a cafe that’s open 7 days, 8-2, and houses the Quik-Trak machine. I think it also has a restroom, but don’t quote me there. Wait, what’s that right ahead? Oh no…

Oh no.
Oh dear god please no.

What is that? No……not a grade crossing! THERE ARE ELEVEN OF THESE ALONG THE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR, ALL IN CONNECTICUT. THE ACELA RUNS DOWN THESE TRACKS. THESE ELEVEN GRADE CROSSINGS ARE WHY THE ACELA RUNS AT A FREAKIN’ SNAIL’S PACE OVER HERE. Never mind that, it’s a safety issue! What if a wheelchair gets caught on the tracks?! Well, apparently this is how you get to track 1 (northbound).


There aren’t many parking spaces, but this station isn’t heavily used, either. Some spots are reserved for the cafe (which is, of course, a separate entity), but from what I’m aware, what’s pictured is all of the Amtrak parking. There’s a canopy from the cafe where southbound passengers can wait, should it be raining or snowing, while northbound passengers have what’s essentially a prefab shed that one can buy from Home Depot or Lowe’s. Also, why is the southbound platform much longer than the northbound one?

The station building
Looking northbound. Look at how long the southbound platform is!
And southbound, past the gates!
The shack
Oh, a glorified Regional.
The Quik-Trak machine inside the station building. And, look, brochures! Admittedly, I didn’t notice them earlier.

The good: It’s a small town train station, and I like the feel of these! Plus, Mystic Seaport (and Old Mistick Village to the north) are both major tourist destinations in the area, so it’s good that the train station is close by. Furthermore, SEAT (the local transit agency) runs 6 days a week in the area with the Stonington HOP microtransit service. Review on that coming eventually.

The bad: Really? Only 3 trains a day in either direction stopping here? If I did this on a weekday, I wouldn’t have gotten home until 10pm rightabout. Furthermore, the low-level platform without a wheelchair lift in sight is a major “oh no”. If there is not, in fact, one, screw you if you need accessibility. They really couldn’t put a mini-high near the street? Thirdly, the grade crossing. That’s a “screw you” if you’re in a hurry, because you could very well run the risk of missing a train due to it coming down at the last minute.

Nearby points of interest: I spent the day in Mystic Seaport, and got a lunch at Mystic Pizza (thanks mom, for giving me $20 to do so!). If you utilize SEAT’s Stonington HOP, you can get to other places in Stonington like Mystic Aquarium, where you can connect to the 108 to Foxwoods and New London.

Transit connections: SEAT (Stonington HOP), Northeast Regional

Overall, I really like this station. I really do. Even in spite of its shortcomings, this is definitely a personal favorite of mine, and I feel like this is what Westerly should’ve been. However, I’d rather have seen a tunnel or bridge/ramp instead of hailing Mary across the tracks for getting to the other side. I’d also personally throw up a mini-high somewhere towards either end of the platforms.

Rating: 5.5/10 (but the train ride to/from is a 10/10 in scenery!)

BONUS: pictures from my journey that aren’t train-related!

Mystic Seaport!
Up goes the road!
A slice of heaven indeed. 10/10, would recommend.
Peeking into the ocean at the end of the Broadway extension
God, what’s with the CT section of the NEC being so darn scenic?!

Windsor Locks (Amtrak/Hartford Line)

Alrighty, looks like we’ve crossed the western border of Rhode Island. Did y’all know there was a train station in Windsor Locks near Bradley Airport? I sure as hell didn’t, until someone informed me earlier in the night. Let’s look at it.

That’s it.

Now, I’ve gotten this image from Google, as getting here is quite difficult, but it sums up the station pretty well. What you see, is what you get. No building, no Quik-Trak machine, and it isn’t even accessible. Well, I lied. Technically it’s accessible by ramp. But, there’s only a low-level platform, so maybe there’s also a wheelchair lift. But, by the looks of it, it’s clearly intended as a park & ride station. There are, however, plans to build a new station due north of here. But only time will tell if it’ll improve on the 69 (hehe, nice…) daily Amtrak passengers. Maybe more people use it for the Hartford Line, who knows.

The good: …not much, really. It’s a park & ride, I guess.

The bad: It’s literally far away from everything, has no amenities (save for a mini-shelter befitting of a bus stop), and the area surrounding it isn’t even walkable. It’s also not very accessible.

Nearby points of interest: …what?

Transit connections: CTRail (Hartford Line), Northeast Regional, Valley Flyer, Vermonter, CTTransit (24, 96, 905)

Overall, this station has little reason to exist. There’s not even a shuttle bus to Bradley Airport on weekends from here. Actually, there’s no bus service on weekends aside from an express between Hartford and Enfield.

Rating: 1/10