Cleveland Circle & Reservoir (Green Line)

Ah, Cleveland Circle and Reservoir. They’re like two twins that absolutely CANNOT be separated under any circumstances. Let’s look at them.

Helvetica!

First, Cleveland Circle. It’s pretty generic with not a lot to note. Benches exist, as do wastebins and, supposedly, a CharlieCard validator (but c’mon, who’s validating their fare???) Yeah, not a lot to note about this one. It’s got an on-foot transfer to Reservoir, though, by virtue of the two essentially being one and the same.

Unofficial parking!
Two Type 8/7 combos!
Benches, shelter, wastebins
Track connections to Reservoir. Look both ways!

Alrighty, now to Reservoir. Reservoir’s a little more exciting. For one, you have fully sheltered platforms with benches. Supposedly, the inbound platform (towards Union Square) is also heated, but I didn’t try it out. There’s also a third platform which, I think, is used for short-turns and in the event the line past here is bustituted. I’m not sure though, so if anyone’s better-versed on this, please tell me if I’m right or not. Both stations also have a bus connection to the 51 to Forest Hills and the 86 to Sullivan and Union Squares, with Reservoir having the busway. Neat! Lastly, why the HELL is there a wheelchair lift if level boarding is a thing with the Type 8s and 9s?! I mean, I’m sure there’s a reason, but what reasonable operator’s gonna want to get out and crank a wheelchair lift all of 3 inches off the ground?!

See ya!
Reservoir’s Helvetica!
The tunnel towards Riverside
The Reservoir yard!
I think this train was part of a nonrevenue equipment move.
The maintenance facility!
Accessibility, what’s that?

The good: Well, they’re a decent transfer together, though you’ll have to let the operator know and, if they’re nice enough, will let you tap a transfer without paying on your CharlieCard. However, be prepared to pay twice. It’s also an alright foaming spot for the Green Line, as you have the Reservoir yard right there. Cleveland Circle also has the amenities one would expect, with a sheltered area and wastebins.

The bad: Cleveland Circle is kinda generic. Not a lot to note. Reservoir also feels kinda generic otherwise, but at least has the busway. Plus, there’s the fact equipment moves from the C branch have to use the street-running tracks on Chestnut Hill Avenue poses a danger to people, moreso if they’re unaware of their surroundings.

Nearby points of interest: You’ve got Boston College, as well as a few playgrounds and the namesake Chestnut Hill Reservoir!

Transit connections: Green Line (D at Reservoir, C at Cleveland Circle), MBTA bus (51, 86 at Reservoir)

Overall, they’re alright, but like, there’s just not a lot to them. I hate to say it, but there’s not a lot in the way of memorable stuff or any charm like Coolidge Corner. And, yes, since they’re essentially one station that operates as two in practice, I’m counting it as two for the purpose of scoring.

Rating:
6/10 for Reservoir
5/10 for Cleveland Circle

Coolidge Corner (Green Line)

I did not know much about Coolidge Corner going into this entry, aside from that it seemed like a cool place. OH BOY, would this place pretty much change my opinion of Brookline from “meh, ’tis only suburbia” to “HOLY CRAP this is a decent place!” Now, let’s get into it.

Helvetica!

Coolidge Corner, at the end of the day, is a street stop at the intersection of Beacon and Harvard Streets in Brookline. However, it does have a bit going for it vs. most other street stops. For one, you have a sizable old town-style shelters, with matching signage. Neat! Further along, you also have a singular bus connection, the 66 to Harvard or Nubian and…..FLIXBUS?! Yeah, I didn’t see any Flixbus buses, but I guess there’s an intercity bus connection.

Here’s your damn Flixbus!

Of course, I have a thing for historic European old town aesthetics, to which Coolidge Corner seems to fit quite well. Obviously, there’s better places, but this seems to be the best to my awareness before crossing into “tourist trap” territory. It’s also walkable! Like, GOD, the S.S. Pierce Building really adds to the vibes this area gives off!

The Green Line shelter
The S.S. Pierce Building and a train
See ya!
A nonrevenue equipment move and the building

The good: It’s just got that historic old town energy going for it! Like, GOD, do I love it! It’s also quite wide and spacious for a street stop, with its staggered stop placement on either side of an S bend through Harvard Street. Also, the 66 and Flixbus stops here. There’s also plenty in the way of shopping.

The bad: No shelters for the 66 and Flixbus! Yeah, it’s minor, but there’s not a lot to complain about here.

Nearby points of interest: Mostly shopping. A friend was with me and dug around Brookline Books for at least 40 minutes. There’s also the S.S. Pierce building.

Transit connections: Green Line (C), MBTA bus (66), Flixbus

Overall, I really like this station and it’s objectively probably best in class. Riding the rest of the C branch had nothing special for most other stations, same is true for the E branch, while the B branch just looks like a nightmare on Street View. I also just like the vibes the neighborhood gives off in general.

Rating: 10/10. Yeah, this one gets an ace.

The Boston skyline looms ahead…

Lechmere (Green Line)

Alrighty, the last of the GLX stations! A friend and I explored the station a little more than with Science Park. So, let’s look at it, shall we?

Helvetica!

If I looked at the old Lechmere, I’d have given it a 5, maybe a 6, on the basis of how freakin’ dingy it was. However, the new Lechmere is NOT that. New Lechmere is quite bright, with a canopy covering the island platform, and nice-looking elevator shafts. There’s also a busway under the viaduct and a Pedal & Park somewhere. And yes, just like the other GLX stations, it’s the honor system. Ugh. But hey, at least the elevator doesn’t smell like urine! The busway also feels kinda dingy, despite being brand spankin’ new, as well.

Nicely covered!
The old station razed
The fancy elevator shaft!
The T globe!
I spy a busway and….BlueBikes?
Oh please, they could’ve put faregates here!
The busway. Not exactly a fan of this.
A type 8!

The good: It’s in a decent spot! It’s also got a liberal amount of bus connections as well as two Green Line branches! From here, the two branches split off to Union Square and Medford. It’s also close to a few shopping centers and, if you’re willing to walk a little, the Bunker Hill Community College (though the Orange Line is better for that).

The bad: Really? Still no faregates. Also no heated areas or bathrooms. The busway feels mildly dingy despite being new.

Nearby points of interest: I’m not really familiar with the area, but a quick look on Google Maps shows Cambridgeside and Cambridge Crossing, as well as North Point Park (moreso if you’re a railfan).

Overall, it’s alright. Just, it suffers from the same pitfalls as the other GLX stations. Hell, if it weren’t for the lack of faregates, it’d probably be the best GLX station second to Medford.

Transit connections: Green Line (D, E), MBTA bus (69, 80, 87, 88)

Rating: 7.5/10

Science Park (Green Line)

Alrighty, this entry is technically part 6 of the GLX saga, but unfortunately it had to be delayed a month due to just simply being waaaaaay too exhausted after Gilman Square and visiting East Somerville with Miles, Brooke, Jeremy, and the others. Either way, here’s the first of the final two parts to the GLX saga, 27 days after the fact.

Helvetica!

Now, I know, it’s Science Park/West End (or Science Park Slash West End), but everyone just calls it Science Park. Of course, it’s elevated, which is always a treat. 😀

Anyways, you’ve got two elevated platforms which are rather plain and bogstandard. Stairs go down to the crossover area, and I’m pretty sure fare control is located just past the doors in said crossover area, but I didn’t have much time to check. I’ll also add, said doors and fare control is kinda tight in spacing. But, hey, at least up here you have the Charles River and a view of the North Station approach! In a sense, with how scenic it is, I’d consider this the Green Line’s Charles/MGH. If you’re foaming the Green, this is a quintessential spot, to paraphrase a friend’s opinion on here. Oh, as a fun aside, this is also the least-used fare-controlled Green Line station.

Down to Hell!
Kinkisharyo.
The stairs down
Type 7.
The T sign
The Zakim Bridge!
Another shot and the North Station approach drawbridge
OH GOD MY EYES!

The good: It’s located near the Museum of Science – the station’s biggest draw! It’s also near some parks.

The bad: Just one problem – it’s in the middle of the intersection! Yeah, it suffers from Charles’ biggest issue, too. Good luck!

Nearby points of interest: Guess. Just guess.

Overall, this is an alright station. It doesn’t have the modern aesthetic that Charles has, but it’s still serviceable. Just uh, good luck crossing the street.

Transit connections: Green Line (D/E)

Rating: 7/10

Stoughton Branch (MBTA)

Alrighty, so now that I’ve covered the two stations on the Stoughton Branch, now it’s time to look at the line itself.

Canton Junction!

The line is a 4 mile branch coming off the Northeast Corridor mainline at Canton, Massachusetts. Among the places it stops at, aside from Canton Junction, are Canton Center and Stoughton. Service here is weekdays only, with hourly trains. Unfortunately, though, service is only that way because of the fact that the whole line is single-tracked. Also, every station has mini-high platforms, and the branch is also riddled with grade crossings, so bear that in mind. In terms of “how scenic is this?”, not very. If you’re into trees, you’d enjoy it.

Canton Center!
Stoughton!

The good: It regularly serves Stoughton outside the rush hour!

The bad: Trains are seemingly always delayed here for inexplicable reasons, and there’s a lot of grade crossings. It also doesn’t help that the entire line is single-tracked, and operates on weekdays only.

Nearby points of interest: Not much, aside from Canton and Stoughton.

Overall, here’s what I’d change. Hear me out:
Either double track the entire line to Stoughton (the space DOES exist!), and electrify it.

OR: we chuck a bunch of multiple units (diesel or electric? Your choice.) to operate as shuttles between Canton Junction and Stoughton, with rush-hour service using locomotives to South Station.

However, it turns out there ARE plans to electrify the line with the South Coast’s phase 2 extension, also including double tracking and station rebuilds. Thank GOD.

Rating: 4/10

Stoughton (MBTA)

Alrighty, so we finished Canton Center, now let’s look at the other station on this branch.

Helvetica!

So, first off, the damn train spills over a couple of streets when letting people on and off! That means, as soon as a train leaves the siding where it lays over (remember, it can’t sit at the station otherwise it’ll block two streets for upwards of 30 minutes!), the bells ring and the gates come down. Furthermore, the low-level section of the platform is bisected by Wyman Street. At least there’s a few benches and a sheltered area – but not on the mini-high. WHY?! THAT’S LITERALLY THE ONLY AREA YOU CAN BOARD AT ON OFFPEAK HOURS! There’s also a station building, but there’s nothing inside. Or, rather, there is – just, nothing usable. But hey, at least unlike Canton Center (and Junction, for that matter) there’s actually a departure board!

Uhhhhh
Parking
Another crossing!
Can’t exactly read this
The station building

The good: It’s in Stoughton’s town center! There’s also an abundance of parking, if that’s your thing

The bad: There’s no benches on the mini-high! WHY?! And, this is one of those “screw you” stations where, if you’re cutting it really close, you can be screwed over by the existence of the crossings. There’s also not much in the way of a station building, since it’s closed. The platforms are also bisected by Wyman Street. Yikes.

Nearby points of interest: Downtown Stoughton seems like a nice place!

Transit connections: MBTA Commuter Rail (Stoughton Line), BAT (14)

Overall, I’d delete the crossings and grade separate the whole thing if I could change the station. The building itself is nice, but those crossings are a problem, and even Stoughton’s officials find it a problem with a proposed rebuild in South Coast Phase 2. So, my proposal to that would be to grade separate the whole line.

Rating: 3/10

Canton Center (MBTA)

Alrighty, so today’s excursion was a trip up to Canton and down the Stoughton branch. And, as such, I’ll be taking a look at the two stations on this branch line. Meet: Canton Center.

Helvetica!

So, Canton Center is the lesser-used of the two stations on the branch, clocking in at just under 500 daily riders. Actually, this is the least-used station on the line, aside from the South County Extension stations. As for parking, the amount is relatively anemic, as it’s located in Canton’s town center. There’s also a singular side platform with a mini-high……which isn’t sheltered. Yeah, that’s a major “screw you”. That grade crossing? Also a major “screw you”. The way it works, trains have to stop to pick people up/let them off outbound, INCH CLOSE TO THE CROSSING, STOP TO LET THE GATES COME DOWN AS THE ENGINEER IS BLASTING THE HORN, AND THEN GO FULL THROTTLE AFTER THE GATES COME DOWN. Yeah…

Oh look, a train!
Mmmmmm, diesel!
Not a lot of parking
See ya! Oh look, an old-school sign akin to what used to be used on the mainline
The sorry mini-high
And away she goes!
TRAIN #869 TO STOUGHTON IN SIX MINS (hehe nice…)
This was train 867, I think the sign might be broken.

The good: Well, it’s a good enough “relief” station for those who don’t want to be on crowded northbound Providence trains! Sure, there’s no indoor waiting area, but odds are you’re probably going to be parking and riding here, which isn’t a big issue since the lot is small as-is. There’s also seating!

The bad: NO, NO, NO! WHY IS THE MINI-HIGH UNSHELTERED?! WHY THE GRADE CROSSING SITUATION?! WHY, HOW, WHY?! There’s not even any weekend service down here, aside from the MBTA’s 716! Never mind that, the fact you’d have to inch to the crossing to force it to come down. What is this, the Shore Line East at New London?!

Nearby points of interest: Well, Canton Center seems like a nice enough downtown area.

Transit connections: MBTA Commuter Rail (Stoughton Branch), MBTA bus (716)

Overall, just why? I guess if you want to avoid Providence trains, it’s good enough. But, like, double track and rebuild this damn place! Hell, the plan is for that to actually happen under Phase 2 of the South Coast extension.

Rating: 2.5/10

Andrew (Red Line)

Who’s Andrew, anyways? I don’t know of anyone named Andrew. But, apparently they named a station after him.

Not that great a picture

So, the busway is brick, and you get six bus routes and the limited service 171 that comes twice at the crack of dawn. Plus, it’s sheltered, which is nice. Inside the mezzanines are wide open, with not much to ring home about. Just some CharlieCard machines and a bridge over the Red Line tracks for crossovers.

A flag going into the Red Line area
The mezzanine
It’s so expansive!
Oh look, a train.

The platform itself is also nothing to ring home about, aside from it’s a hair bit dingy. Yeah, I don’t have much here.

Another train
The helvetica!

The good: Well, you got bus connections! And the bus area is fully sheltered. Yeah, I can’t think of too much here.

The bad: It just seems kinda generic. Kinda dingy, not much to say about this place overall. It also feels a little dated.

Nearby points of interest: You’ve got the South Bay Center if you want to make a treacherous walk! If you’re a rail foamer, you’ve also got the Southampton St. yard here as well.

Transit connections: Red Line, MBTA bus (9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 171, CT3)

Overall, it’s average. Meh.

Rating: 5/10

Charles/MGH (Red Line)

They say this station can get you a nice view of the Boston skyline. Well, not really, if it’s a rainy day. Oh well!

Helvetica on the other side!

So, in contrast to most (all, to my awareness, actually) Red Line stations, Charles is elevated above a roundabout at the start of the Longfellow Bridge, which crosses, you guessed, the Charles River. Going inside, the mezzanine has stairs, an escalator (which is out of service), and an elevator for accessibility. Oh yeah, it’s pretty much all glass. Exits here go out towards Charles and Cambridge Streets, and the Esplanade. As for future plans with the station, there’s talks of extending the Blue Line out here and converting it into a transfer station with an underground platform, presumably with access within fare control.

SO FOGGY
Looking down the Longfellow Bridge
I don’t think this sign works
CVS!
The lobby and fare control
Naturally.

The good: It’s cool to have an elevated station! You’ve also got Mass General Hospital nearby along with the parks along the Charles River. It also just looks cool.

The bad: It’s located in the middle of a damn intersection! Have fun hailing Mary and praying you don’t end up at MGH!

Nearby points of interest: MGH and the parks!

Transit connections: Red Line. If you want to try and walk down Charles Street, you can also get the Green Line at Science Park, a half-mile away

Overall, it’s a nice station. Better that it’s elevated. However, the major problem with this are the lack of a Blue Line transfer and the fact it’s in the middle of an intersection.

Rating: 9/10

Nubian (Silver Line)

Alrighty, another “station”. But, fortunately, this one’s actually more of a proper station than a dinky lil’ bus shelter along a non-BRT route. So, how is Nubian?

Oh dear God

So, it’s complex enough to where some of the berths aren’t exactly clearly labelled. Furthermore, this is the main bus station for central Roxbury. It also feels a bit dark, despite the absurd amounts of lighting, though that’s probably because it was a rainy day when I was here. So, what else is there? There’s a transit police kiosk here, and a “Dudley Station Bus Finder” from …2007?! Yikes.

The SL5 that a friend and I got off of
Part of the station
MBTA transit police kiosk!

The good: Well, it’s kinda cool they used parts of the old Orange Line station to build this. Furthermore, you can’t say ridership is bad because this place was CROWDED (even though the pictures don’t do it justice). It’s also centrally located in Roxbury.

The bad: It’s kinda dark with the lighting being useless during the day! I’m sure it’s there to discourage crime, since it’s not in the best of areas, but still it’s kinda useless. Furthermore, why isn’t the Silver Line in its own ROW outside mixed traffic here?! Now, I know, that’s a major complaint with the Silver Line as a whole but still. Also, why is the station map from 2007?! There’s also no amenities that I could find.

Nearby points of interest: Not much at first glance, but you have the Roxbury branch of the Boston Public Library, though!

Transit connections: MBTA bus (various), SL4, SL5

Overall, I’d argue this place is pretty much Boston’s Kennedy Plaza. If you’re comfortable at Kennedy Plaza, you’ll likely be comfortable here. That said, unlike KP, there’s no bathrooms or, to my awareness, benches or seats.

Rating: 6.5/10