In article <rnewman-1701971007290...@mfd-dial1-17.cybercom.net>,
@cybercom.net (Ron Newman) wrote:
> I'd like to know how many branches were once attached to what is now
> known as the Green Line of the (Boston) MBTA.
I got many e-mail replies to this query, besides those that
were posted to Usenet:
Date: Sat, 18 Jan 1997 10:13:48 -0500 (EST)
From: rts...@aol.com (RTSPCC)
Subject: Re: MBTA Green Line - how many branches did
In 1897 there was no Red or Orange line. Streetcars were through routed
from all points into the Tremont St. subway. Many of the bus routes that
terminate at Red or Orange line stations today were once car lines, that
at somepoint ran through to the subway. routes included Grove Hall via
Warren, Grove Hall via Blue, Ashmont via Dudley, Franklin Park via Blue,
Chestnut Hill via Boylston, Milton via Dorchester Ave., Belmont via
Concord, Waverly via Trapelo, Watertown via Mt Auburn, Arlington Heights
via Mass Ave., Spring Hill via Inman, City Point via Broadway, Malden Sq.
via Main, Salem St. via Broadway, etc, etc, etc, . It would take a book to
describe all of the route combinations run into the Tremont St. subway
between 1897 and 1901. There were no signals in the Tremont Street subway,
but since 15 mph was considered fast service for a streetcar then, it was
o.k. to just have a constant flow of 25 foot long little streetcars
entering the tunnel from many, many, routes. When the Washington St. El
opened in 1901, an enormouse number of routes were truncated at Sullivan
Sq. to the North and Dudley to the South. Despite the requirement to
transfer, this was considered a vast improvement becase the rapid transit
line was much faster than streetcars plodding their way along surface
streets to the Tremont St. tunnel entrances.The same thing happened when
the Cambridge Tunnel open, and carlines were cut-back to Harvard Sq.
I will give you a run-down of carlines post 1932 that ran into the subway
that don't today:
1935 Eastern Mass discontinues through service to Brattle Loop from
Woodlawn, Lynn, Salem, Beachmont this was after the Chelsea St. bridge was
condemmed. The Woodlawn route was taken over by the Boston El in 1936,
when they bought the Chelsea division of the Eastern Mass. It is route 111
today. The Lynn and Salem routes are today routes 450 and the Lynn-Boston
portion of route 455. The Beachmont line is bus 119, also taken over by
the EL in 1936.
03/05/38-Dudley-North Station via Washington st streetcar replaced by
Dudley-Dover&Tremont bus. This bus was discontinued in Feb 1942 as a
war-time conservation effort.This was not the 49 Northampton-Kneeland bus,
which was an earlier conversion.
Also, Brookline Village-Park St. via Huntington Ave. cars were replaced by
Brigham Circle-Park St. extras.
04/03/48-Sullivan-Brattle via Main St. streetcar replaced by route 92 bus
07/02/49-Sullivan-Brattle via Bunker Hill streetcar replaced by rote 93
12/05/53 City Point-North Station streetcar replaced by 9 City
06/15/56 Egleston-Lenox St. portion of Egleston-North Station line
converted to 43 bus
11/18/61 Lenox-North Station line replaced by 43 bus,
Boylston-Broadway&Trmont shuttle cars ran to 04/06/62
You already know the Watertown and Arborway dates.
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 1997 10:37:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: MBTA Green Line - how many branches did
In a message dated 97-01-19 00:18:05 EST, you write:
>>1935 Eastern Mass discontinues through service to Brattle Loop from
>>Woodlawn, Lynn, Salem, Beachmont this was after the Chelsea St. bridge was
>>condemmed. The Woodlawn route was taken over by the Boston El in 1936,
>>when they bought the Chelsea division of the Eastern Mass.
>When the Boston El took these over, did they maintain them as
>streetcar routes, or convert them to bus (either electric or diesel)?
Two car lines I forgot to mention to Brattle were Revere Beach Loop-Brattle
via Beach St., and Revere Beach Loop-Brattle via Revere St. (what later
became the 116 and 117 bus routes). Like the routes to Woodlawn, Beachmont,
Lynn, and Salem these were cut-back to Chelsea Sq. when the bridge was
condemmed to streetcars. The Eastern Mass did begin a City Sq.-Chelsea Sq.
bus route as a replacement.
The El bought the Chelsea division on 06/10/36.
It included the City Sq.Chelsea Sq. bus and the streetcar routes from Chelsea
Sq to Woodlawn , Malden Sq (to later become the 112), Revere via Beach,
Revere via Revere St. and Revere Beach Loop to Gladstone St.(now Suffolk
Downs) The EL began through routing the Revere Beach routes with their
existing East Boston carlines creating the Revere Beach-Maverick via Beach,
via Revere, and via Ocean Ave lines.
The Beachmont car was quickly converted by the EL to gas bus on 10/10/1936.
That is the 119 bus. 0n 05/08/1937, the City Sq.-Chelsea Sq. bus was extended
to Woodlawn, and Woodlawn-Chelsea Sq. cars were discontinued. The Eastern
Mass continued running the Chelsea Sq.-Lynn and Chelsea Sq.-Salem routes to
1937 when they were replaced by bus service through to Haymarket via the then
new road tunnel. These bus routes are the 450 and the Lynn-Boston portion of
the 455. Bus service from Lynn to Boston via the Lynnway (routes 441/442) did
not begin until 1940 after the BRB&L shut-down.
The Revere Beach-Maverick streetcar lines were all converted to trolley bus
on 01/05/1952, the same day the Blue Line extension from Maverick to Orient
Heights opened. Trackless trolleys were also introduced from Woodlawn to Wood
Isalnd station. Between Woodlawn and Chelsea Sq. they ran side by side with
the 111 Woodlawn-City Sq. gas and (by this time) diesel buses. The East
Boston/Chelsea trackless lines were converted to diesel bus in 1961, 04/01
for the Woodlawn route, and 09/09 for the Beach St. and Revere St routes.
> >Also, Brookline Village-Park St. via Huntington Ave. cars were replaced by
>>Brigham Circle-Park St. extras.
> Was there a branch at Huntington and South Huntington that allowed
>cars to continue west to Brookline Village? Where did these cars
>loop or otherwise turn around in Brookline Village?
This was all that remained of the Cypress St and Chestnut Hill carlines
(todays route 60 bus). These routes could run to Boston via Brookline Ave,
Ipswich and Boylston (part of today's route 55) or via Huntington Ave. The
outer portion of the lines was converted to bus in 1932 (Chestnut
Hill-Kenmore and Cypress St. Kenmore). The Brookline Village-Park St. service
was retained as a rush-hour service. It shared the same tracks as the
Allston-Dudley carline from Brookline Village to Huntington&South Huntington.
The Allston-Dudley line was converted to diesel bus on 09/10/38. It didn't
make sense to maintain the track from Brookline Village to Huntington just
for rush-hour trippers, so the service was cut-back to Brigham Circle. The
cars just crossed back at Brookline Village, no loop.
>>04/03/48-Sullivan-Brattle via Main St. streetcar replaced by route 92 bus
>>07/02/49-Sullivan-Brattle via Bunker Hill streetcar replaced by rote 93
>I assume that "Brattle" is the same station as "Scollay Square"?
Yes, just one part of the same station. The loop is still known as the
Brattle loop, even though Brattle St. does no exist anymore.
> >Boylston-Broadway&Trmont shuttle cars ran to 04/06/62
>From which side of Boylston station did these shuttles run?
>How did passengers get from there to the other side of
> Boylston station? >>
One Dallas car ran on each track. The pedestrian passageway was still open at
that time connecting inbound to outbound. The passageway was later closed
because it had become a bathroom and hang-out for vagrants.
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 1997 14:40:41 -0500 (EST)
From: wide...@aol.com (Widecab)
Subject: Re: Green Line Branches
I think you e-mailed about the early Green Line "book".
This is not a book in the truest sense of the word. There was no
publisher and it wouldn't be found at Barnes & Noble. By "book" this
means route books, which were kept by each BERy Division.
It is not for the novice, unless you have an intimate knowledge of
operations on the West End & BERy, as well as a keen geographic sense of
The records are helter-skelter, incomplete and very confusing. You have
routes mixed together among subway and non-subway (sometimes hard to tell
even at that). Many were "extras" or "school trips", essentially all the
elements of surface transit in its familiar form.
What you have to undersand is the Tremont St. Subway wasn't designed as a
rapid transit line, it was just a way to get knots of little streetcars
off Tremont St., so they wouldn't block access to the Common forever.
Only after the nature of operations was changed in 1922 are there any
decent records, and does it become somewhat akin to the "Green Line" as
its been known for 30 years. Ergo, the suggestion you not worry about
1897 & so forth.. Just be content to know that many routes ran into the
subway from all points of the compass. Most confounding of all an unknown
number went THROUGH the subway (Roxbury to Malden, for instance) or
sometimes went either way depending on traffic or direction of travel. In
all cases, these are "snapshots", not linear histories. There IS NO
COMPLETE record; only generalities.
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 10:46:32 -0500 (EST)
From: rts...@aol.com (RTSPCC)
Subject: Re: MBTA Green Line - how many branches did i
"There used to be trolley tracks almost everywhere, but not all the
streetcars on all those tracks ever fed into what is now the
Green Line tunnel. So yes, you could ride a trolley down College Avenue,
but could you ride one non-stop from Scollay Square to there?"
No, the Arlington-Sullivan via Medford Hillside line was built late,
opening on August 31, 1901. From day 1 the cars only ran to the then brand
new Sullivan Sq. elevated terminal not the Tremont St. subway. When the
Medford Hillside line was converted to bus on 07/09/1932, the bus line was
rerouted to Lechmere instead of Sullivan. This bus route remains as route
80 Arlington Center-Lechmere. So not only could you not ride a streetcar
from College Ave. to the Tremont St. subway, you couldn't even ride one to
Lechmere. The bus route from Medford Sq. to Mass Ave. (todays routes 94
and 96) began as a new bus route on 05/11/1925 and was never a carline.
The carlines from Harvard to Lechmere, Clarendon Hill via Somerville, and
Clarendon Hill via Highland did run through to the subway. They ran to
Brattle loop or a cross-back at the Tremont&Broadway portal (the routes
changed from time to time). On July 10, 1922 a prepayment transfer station
was built at Lechmere. Through revenue service was discontinued between
the subway and Harvard via Cambridge and the two Clarendon Hill lines.
Passengers had to transfer at Lechmere to lines coming from the subway.
The reason this change came was delays on the surface lines were causing
delays in the subway. By splitting the routes with a transfer at Lechmere,
it was hoped to improved schedules and reduce delays in the subway. A
track connection did remain between these lines and the route to the
subway, and non-revenue transfer moves of equipment could be made. The
Harvard-Lechmere line was converted to trackless trolley on 04/11/1936.
The two Clarendon Hill lines were converted on 11/08/1941. All three lines
were converted to diesel bus on 03/30/1963
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 05:54:19 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Green Line Branches
>>Many of the routes below with a "Date Started: ???" began electric
>>operation shortly after 1889. Many of them were horse car routes well
>>before 1889, so determining an exact starting date for each of the lines
>>might be difficult. Horsecars in Boston were gone by about 1900, and no
>>horsecar routes were ever operated in the Subway.
A handful of routes began as electric operations, ONE of which was an
early version of the present operation to Cleveland Circle. Most surface
lines started life as horsecars; some were never electrified. The last
horsecar line operated by the BERy (Marlborough St.) shut down, I believe,
in 1900 as stated.
> "A" Watertown branch
> Service started: ???
> Began running through Kenmore subway: 1932>>>
Strongly suggest you procure a copy of "Boston's Main Line El: The Early
Years, 1879-1908" from BSRA or another source. One of the appendices
deals with evolution of the present Green Line and answers almost all of
> Service ended: June 21, 1969 - replaced by #57 bus
> (did this ever have additional branches on the surface?) <<<
This is not the right way to approach these things. Commonwealth, Beacon
and what became the Watertown line WERE select branches of what was then
an immense street railway empire. As such, they enjoyed no more
prominence than a local route in Malden or Dorchester as far as the El was
concerned. In fact(!) what later became the (E) Arborway line didn't
exist until 1924, when it was pieced together from trackage used by other
existing routes. What I suggest you do is procure a copy of Boston's
street railway maps from the BSRA. These encompass various years from
1887 to 1973, with an additional package for 1986. Then, to fully
comprehend routings, you will need some kind of early street map to see
the rich variety of "Squares", "Circles", Crossings" or "Corners" to which
these routes were bound.
>>Yes, Watertown via N. Beacon & Comm., Watertown via Arsenal, Western, &
>>Mass. Ave., & Newton Corner via Watertown, Mt. Auburn and Mass. Ave.
>>There were likely others before 1907.
>>Watertown cars (on the just recently abandoned route) were signed up
>>Nonantum Square if I'm reading this correctly...<<
Before there was a Watertown carhouse, the big meeting point with
Middlesex & Boston was Nonantum Sq., today known as (drum roll
>>...There was service to the Allston Carhouse which used the Beacon
>>Street line from Boston to Coolidge Corner, and a branch from the
>>present Boston College terminal also used part of the Beacon Street line
>>from Chestnut Hill Ave to Washington Street. There may have been more,
>>but this book only goes back to 1907.
As long as you brought it up, the line was #921 from Park Street to Newton
Line (now Lake St./Boston College) via Huntington, Brookline Village,
Washington St. (Brookline), Washington Sq., Beacon, Chestnut Hill and
Commonwealth. How's that for going around the world!
Also don't forget the Allston-Dudley car line CROSSED Coolidge Corner until
> "E" Huntington Avenue to Arborway
> Service started: ???
> Began running through Huntington Avenue subway: Feb. 16, 1941
> Last car to Arborway ran December 26, 1985, replaced by #39 bus;
> streetcar service now runs only to Heath Street loop
> (did this ever have additional branches on the surface?)
This WAS an additional branch (see above). To simplify things for purpose
of this discussion, the "old" route started at Jamaica Plain carhouse (or
loop) off South St., where the public housing is now. The "old Arborway
Line" was actually routed onto the Columbus Ave. corridor by continuing up
Centre St. past South Huntington Ave. to Jackson Sq. As you can probably
guess, these traded places a time or two.
After 1924 the present routes are clarified: Jamaica-Dudley (now the 41
bus) and Arborway-Park Street (now the 39 bus).
>>There were a variety of branches off of the Huntington Ave line in 1907,
>>including car to: Oak Square, Allston Carhouse and Newton Line (Boston
>>College). There were others as well before 1907.
In the system's earliest years, it was common for some routes from Roxbury
and Dorchester to follow a route into Park Street via Northampton, Mass.
Ave., Huntington and Boylston to the Public Gardens Incline. There were
also routes to Brookline which went straight at the South Huntington turn.
> Tremont Street to Egelston Square
> Service started: ???
> Cut back to Lenox Street in the South End: ? sometime in the 1950s ?
> Service ended: November 1961? - replaced by #43 bus
>>Cutback Egleston to Lenox Street: 1955.
Lenox Street was used as a carhouse at first, then as a short-turn loop
throughout. Cars were turned there "permanently" in June, 1956 with
supplementary buses from Egleston to the Broadway & Tremont portal.
>>Lenox to Broadway Portal: November 1961
November 18, 1961.
>>Eliminated Completely: Early (April?) 1962.
Shuttle using Dallas car dropped April 6, 1962.
> Broadway to City Point
> Service started: ???
> Service ended: 1954? - replaced by #9 bus
>>I believe that this service survived until 1955, when work on the
>>Broadway Bridge was required.
Service was first interrupted July 12, 1952 by closure of the Broadway
Bridge across the Fort Point Channel (the one that's still there!!),
during which time Type 5's shuttled from City Point to Broadway Station.
Single-tracked operations resumed August 9, but the die was already cast,
service was unreliable and the thing was finally put out of its misery on
March 2, 1953. Patrons were encouraged to take competing (and prompt)
Type 5 shuttles to Broadway Station through late '52 and early '53. On
March 2, a replacement bus operated from City Point to Broadway & Tremont,
from which Type 5's (what else?) shuttled to Canal St. Loop. This lasted
until December 5, 1953, when the Type 5 shuttles were dropped. The bus
went to Broadway & Tremont until the 1970's!
> I know that what is now the Canal Street stub terminal at North Station
> was once just a surface stop on the way to Charlestown, following what
> are now the routes of the #92 and #93 buses. Did these
> cars use the old Warren Street bridge, or the Charlestown bridge?
>>I believe they both used the Charlestown Bridge. However, the last
>>scheduled streetcar service into the Brattle loop (from outside of the
>>present system) was 1955. By that time, a loop had been constructed at
>>Canal Street, with tracks which lead off under the El to Sullivan Square
>>and then went to Everett Station. This track was still used for shop
>>moves from the Green Line to the Everett shops, but I don't recall when
>>they stopped this operation (my guess is 1963, when the Mystic River
>>Bridge on Broadway near Sullivan Square was rebuilt). The loop at Canal
>>Street was replaced with the stub-end tracks in 1977 (the LRVs couldn't
>>make the turn around that loop).
First, Canal St. had always contained a loop from the time it opened in
1898 until the stubs were created in 1977. It was used as the main
terminal for many routes, including pretty much everything which entered
through the Broadway & Tremont Incline.
The easterly tracks went out onto Causeway St. and turned east and west
to fan BERy surface lines continuing to Charlestown, East Cambridge or
Somerville, and Eastern Mass. routes to points further out in the
suburbs. Within the subway, separate cash fares (or transfers) were
required to ride cars on inner or outer tracks through Haymarket station
and into Brattle Loop. The South End/Roxbury/JP, etc. cars switched from
Canal St. to the outer tracks and went through the pre-paid subway stops
as far as Boylston, then out the incline or wherever.
The Lechmere Viaduct replaced the "Cragie Bridge" route from North Station
to Lechmere Sq., which found cars on the surface in front of where the
Science Museum is today, in 1912. These cars went on to points in East
Cambridge, Somerville and (perhaps) Arlington. For many years after this,
there were still several variations of through routes via Charlestown; the
most stubborn being a line between Sullivan Sq. and Dudley St. via the
Tremont St. Subway, which lasted well into the 1920's. Generally, through
cars for points beyond Sullivan Square (Salem St. carhouse...uh, Fellsway
Garage, for instance) used Main St.; the Bunker Hill cars ended at
Sullivan Square. Meanwhile, Eastern Mass. (nee Bay State, Boston &
Northern, etc.) continued across the decrepit old Chelsea St. Bridge to
Central Sq. and points about the "North Shore". This was the chief means
of reaching Lynn or Salem (besides the B & M), for example.
As the story unfolds, the Chelsea Bridge was essentially shut down for
good in early 1935, permitting the EMSR to do what it always wanted to
anyway and establish the "Arrow" bus lines system out of its sparkling new
terminal at Haymarket Sq. After this, there was a "franchise"
(inconsistent, seldom seen) shuttle with two 4300-series double-end cars
from Mystic Wharf (Boston side of the closed Chelsea Bridge) to Brattle
Loop which lasted a little over a year. This left the two Sullivan Sq,
lines (Main & Bunker Hill). These generally used the Warren St. Bridge
(EMSR and through cars had usually used the Charlestown Bridge) unless the
Charles River plain was flooded, which happened often. Main St. died some
time in '48 (replaced by a bus from Sullivan to City Sq.), then Bunker
Hill in July 1949 (buses on both routes from Sullivan to North Station).
Originally, there was NO replacement streetcar service from Brattle Loop,
and riders were expected to transfer from the replacement buses to the El
at the nearest station (North Station, City Sq., Thompson or Sullivan).
HOWEVER, at this time the MTA instituted transfer differentials of 5¢ as
part of a back-door fare increase. This served to isolate the Townies,
who were now forced to pay an extra nickel just to reach Boston.
Politics got involved, and a lone Type 5 used as a "free shuttle" was
begun from Canal St. loop, outside the pre-payment station where it met
inbound buses, to Brattle some time (probably September) in 1949. This
way, inbound riders could pay the local bus fare (10¢, I think) and get to
Brattle for nothing extra. But, unless they could walk from Brattle to
destination they STILL had to cough up the extra five coppers to get into
the subway at Scollay. Shuttle operations were reportedly inconsistent
and the riders impatient, so it's a good bet that habits changed and the
locals wound up surrendering their nickel someplace after all. In 1950
(perhaps in response to changing rider patterns?...Oh My God I just quoted
from the MBTA Management Decision Handbook...HELP!), Charlestown buses
were rerouted off the Charlestown Bridge to Haymarket via North Washington
St., thus ignoring North Station entirely. By early '51, with most bus
riders transferring elsewhere, the shuttle was rendered more or less moot,
but apparently retained for political reasons. At times the story goes,
its lucky operator would park his Type 5 on the middle tracks just past
Haymarket station and snooze, because nobody noticed if he was keeping his
schedule or not. Anyhow, this situation couldn't last, and it was
officially cut to PM rush only by early '52, then dropped altogether at
the end of the year.
Use of the Warren St. Bridge ended with Charlestown service in '49 and
thereafter only the Charlestown Bridge and Main St. tracks (and one track
at that!) were used to reach Everett Shops for equipment moves. This
lasted until 1962, after which all cars were trucked out of the ramp at
Lechmere (another story for another time).
> Did any cars from the subway go to Chelsea or other points besides
> Sullivan Square in Charlestown?
>>Yes, but the closing of the old Mystic River Bridge (which was replaced
>>by the Tobin) cancelled trolley services between Chelsea and the subway.
>>The old drawbridge was a troublesome machine toward the end, and got
>>stuck on several occasions before trolley service was discontinued.
In the good old days (pre-1934) there were a number of through EMSR lines
to the Chelsea Division, which after years of public debate was taken over
by the BERy in May, 1936. Most surviving lines were configured to serve
the East Boston Tunnel terminal at Maverick; others eventually replaced by
bus or trackless. These routes mainly served Chelsea, Revere and Everett,
including Revere Beach, to which the El had tended to run through only
during the peak summer months for many years after 1907 (using EMSR men
past Gladstone St. loop; now the site of [ta da!]...Suffolk Downs).
Prior to conversion of the Lynn Division in 1932, there had been through
cars from Brattle to most North Shore points served out of Haymarket by
MBTA buses today (Lynn, Salem, etc.). Waaay back, there were through cars
from the Lawrence & Lowell Divisions to Brattle as well. These were
turned at Sullivan Square when it opened in 1901. There was also
Lexington & Boston service from Brattle in the earliest days.
> And did streetcars always terminate at Lechmere, or did they once
> continue beyond it into Cambridge and Somerville?
>>The viaduct was opened on 6/1/1912 allowing through service to North
Lines in June, 1912 from Brattle (some later from Broadway & Tremont) to
Clarendon Hill and Harvard Sq.; other points in Cambridge. There was no
Lechmere station as such. Cars ramped off the viaduct to Cambridge St. or
the Northern Artery (O'Brien Hwy.) and stopped at curbside. There was no
such thing as Science Park either of course.
>>Lechmere station was made (enclosed) 7/10/1922.
This is when the prepayment terminal we know today was established. At
this time the Clarendon Hill lines and Harvard cars were cutback as
feeders, and the operation of 3-car Center-Entrance cars began. So dawned
the era of the modern GREEN LINE.
>>One of these books has an image of a Type 3 (the same cars as the
>>present Green Line snow plows) in passenger service bound for Clarendon
>>Square at North Station./////]]]]]