Alrighty, another Commuter Rail station, and we’re on the Fairmount Line today! Well, let’s look at Newmarket.
Alrighty. Newmarket is located in an industrial area, however it’s not so much industrial as it’s revitalized with a major shopping center. See, the South Bay Center. But, I’m not here to talk about the neighborhood. The station itself is pretty standard, with benches, a fairly long platform, and wastebins. There’s also a CharlieCard validator as well. Now, since there’s no crossover via bridges, how do you change sides? Well, that’s easy. You take the ramp and use the underpass.
Fortunately, changing sides isn’t as sketchy as in Milford. Plus, you also have a few local bus connections and some bike racks. Furthermore, downtown Boston makes a cool backdrop for foamer pictures, so there’s that too.
The good: It’s located pretty much at the South Bay Center! I mean, it’s decently located for a shopping trip, or if you work or live in Newmarket Square.
The bad: Unfortunately, it’s not pedestrian friendly. I’ll also add that this is also the least-used Fairmount station. Furthermore, there’s just nothing that stands out about the station in particular, and there’s a lack of long-ish term parking in the area. I mean, you could walk from the South Bay Center, but at that point just take the bus.
Nearby points of interest: The South Bay Center! Yeah, not much in the area stands out here either.
Overall, as a station, it gets the job done. But, like, there’s just not much to say about it. Sure, the South Bay Center is close, but that’s not enough for a 10/10 station in the city. It does provide for some nice foamer shots though.
Ah, Boylston. Welcome to the first of the two-oldest subway stations in the entire United States. Well, ho- OH GOD THE NOISE!!!
So, getting off the train, first off there’s no mezzanine area. Plus, the waiting area is a bit small to start with. I’ll also add it looks kinda dingy. But, the headhouses? It’s a time capsule, as it’s been present since the end of the 19th century. That’s the late 1800s!!! However, as nice as the station seems on paper, it’s very dingy and it’s lacking GREATLY in accessibility. Yikes. Oh yeah, the inbound side has a PCC hidden behind a fence.
Oh yeah, the station is also served by the SL5. It’s nothing special though, just a bus sign. Kinda shitty, if you ask me, actually.
The good: Well, it’s located in the Boston Common in downtown Boston. It’s also pretty significant historically so there’s that.
The bad: Screw you and your ADA needs! Seriously, this place has no elevator! Also, the screeching of the Green Line trains is deafening! In fact, I think I might have tinnitus and a headache now as a result. Speaking of the screeching, it’s so loud you can even hear it from OUTSIDE THE STATION. That’s a MAJOR code red.
Nearby points of interest: Boston Common is the big one! Hell, the station itself can be considered one for its historical significance.
Transit connections: Green Line (B, C, D, E) Silver Line (SL5) MBTA bus (43)
Overall, just pass on this station unless absolutely necessary. Yes, it’s nice historically, but it’s dingy and deafening. Don’t go here unless you’re already deaf.
Alrighty, we’re heading to the North Shore! Original plan called for my friend and I to ride the SL3 and a Newburyport/Rockport train to Salem, but shit timing ended up leading to a Blue Line transfer at Airport. Shittier timing led to a 30 minute wait for the 455 at Wonderland. Eventually the bus arrived, and after putting up with a loud bunch of about 10 teenagers, they quieted down boarding the bus. Thank GOD.
So, we pulled out of Wonderland’s busway and we made our way up to Revere Street. From here, we turned left, and picked up a few people. Fortunately, it wasn’t long until we went through a roundabout and on the Salem Turnpike, where the operator decided to hightail and floor it down Rte. 107 through the wetlands between Revere and Lynn.
So we floored it, passing some buildings on either side, but no stops as this was essentially a highway. Among these buildings were GE’s Riverworks plant which also housed a train station. Naturally, no deviation. Now that it was Western Avenue, people were getting on and off, primarily for local travel within Lynn. It was a bit dense, about as much as Revere, and to be honest this place could use a Blue Line extension with a stop or three. Of course, this route wouldn’t be complete without us going down Center and Market Streets, deviating into the Lynn Center busway. Yes, people got on here. No, noone transferred to the Commuter Rail which was expressing (station closed a day prior for repairs). Nevertheless, we pressed on through Lynn, as well as Swampscott, by following Union and Essex Streets.
Of course, after passing through Governor Charlie Baker’s hometown of Swampscott, the road became Loring Ave., which we still followed all the way into Salem. It was largely residential. Going into Salem, we passed Salem State University, and eventually houses started getting a bit more grandiose and historic-looking. We turned down Lafayette Street, and a couple of more turns brought us into the crowded downtown Salem. Yes, this was during peak tourism season. Fortunately, soon after, and after everyone got off the bus along Washington St., we made it to Salem Depot (aka Salem Station).
Run time? About an hour.
The good: Well, you can’t say it doesn’t serve a lot! Ridership seems to be primarily concentrated at Wonderland, Lynn, and downtown Salem for sure. Salem itself is pretty nice, both in the tourism regard and with its historical context (the witch trials and whatnot, even had an Arthur Miller play based on it). Even outside peak tourism season (October), during the summer it’s a nice place to walk around and whatnot.
The bad: The headways kinda suck though relative to the rest of the MBTA, being hourly. Vs. other RTAs it’d be alright, but this is the MBTA we’re talking. Then again, they also have subway lines running on upwards of 15-20 minute headways as of me writing this. But hey, maybe hourly isn’t as bad for Lynn and Salem as it seems at first glance, as the route does take around an hour from end to end.
Nearby points of interest: Wonderland has the Blue Line! You also have whatever there is in Lynn (sorry, I’m unfamiliar with the area), as well as Salem. I even went candlepin bowling at a nearby alley.
Overall, while I’d increase headways to half-hourly during the tourism season, maybe it isn’t as necessary as, say, half-hour headways on a Salem express. Hell, odds are most tourists are taking the train in if they’re going to take transit to/from Salem.