Leave No Station Unphotographed: The Blog of SubwayNut.com


A Saturday Afternoon on the Slightly Infrequent MBTA Subway Lines to Revisit Some Stations

This past weekend I was in Boston for the third straight year mainly for what is turning into an annual pre-Christmas visit by car from New York with my family to see extended family. This year though I found myself with Saturday afternoon completely free because my parents each had a different old friend they wanted to see on there own.

We were staying with relatives in Needham who’s commuter rail line lost Saturday service on July 7, 2012 (it hasn’t had Sunday service in modern memory) so my only choice to get into Boston was the one bus line that serves Needham Route #59 and runs only every 90 minutes on weekends! I of course looked at the schedule and left my relatives house with just enough time to get some photos of Needham Center(2 Photos) before I walked past the station another block to the small townhall park where my tracking of the bus informed me it had left Needham Junction on time at 1:05 and would be arriving in two minutes. I wanted about that long for the bus (I love live bus tracking!)

It was an uneventful trip to Newton Highlands(6 Photos) where I used my Charlie Card that paid the 50¢ up charge since the bus is cheeper than the trolley as I rushed to catch the green line after getting my photos.

I have a quite small list of places I want to revisit on the MBTA, but there haphazardly all across the three main subway lines, the photo essays from my main two trips I really feel do the system justice (commuter rail is another story but not something I was willing to tackle on a Saturday afternoon). I knew it would be an afternoon of more riding than stopping. Weekend service wasn’t has bad as it could have been, it seemed like every 10-15 minutes with the countdown clocks slightly wrong. At least it wasn’t DC or on BART where the weekend frequency is every 20 minutes! I took the Green Line to soon to close for two years Government Center(6 Photos). According to the countdown clock the Blue Line goes to Bowdoin on weekends (trains still reverse there to turn around) although the station itself is closed on weekends with the train cars saying Government Center. The frequency, according to the clock is decent.

I took the next Blue Line train to Orient Heights(18 Photos), that has just reopened after a closure, now none of the original 1950s train stations exist anymore. I found the station from my visit two years ago, quite interesting. Without an unlimited pass I didn’t leave fare control.


I headed back towards Boston and some quick Googling on my iPhone verified that the Massport Sponsored Silver Line is still free from the Airport. I’ve been wanting to get exterior photos of the Airport Blue Line Station (ever since I was harassed by a cop on my first visit, I revisited once only within fare control on a similar 2 hours to kill trip last summer). I got off the Blue Line at the Airport Station(15 Photos) at 2:29. 


I then get on the BRTs-style Airport Shuttle Bus, they use artics and even have route numbers! I make the mistake of boarding an A and B bus and not a C and E Terminals Bus (the Silver Line begins its loop at A and ends at E). The bus takes forever since the first stop is a consolidated rental car center where we sit for upwards of five minutes boarding passengers and letting the driver yell at passengers to get there luggage off the floors and onto the luggage racks. I get off at the first stop at terminal A and am totally confused. The buses destination signs say Discharge Only and were on the departures roadway above the arrivals level. I decide its time to see how easy walking between terminals at Logan Airport is and head through a parking garage to Terminal C where the Next Bus Departure sign for the Silver Line (and verified with Bus Tracking on my iPhone) says 11 minutes. Not wanting to wait, I use a long series of indoor corridors (including some neat tarmac views and back office doors) to reach Terminal E. There the countdown clock says 7 minutes and I go inside to wait. The next thing I know a Silver Line Bus pulls up, the destination signs saying Fare Free, Board Any Door and I hop in the rear door after letting a bunch of passengers with luggage off. I find a seat for the longish ride through the Ted Williams Tunnel and then rediculous loop the buses make around the World Trade Center Station (stopping twice, once outside the station and once inside) via Silver Line way before we enter the bus tunnel to South Station(5 Photos). I’m waiting for the Red Line at 3:25, nearly an hour detour to just get my exterior Blue Line Station Photos.

I consult my website and know I want to revisit Shawmut(10 Photos) for some more photos. The next Red Line train is heading to Ashmont so I take it straight down there. I look at the countdown clock and my visit is slightly shorter than I’d like, only 2 minutes, since the following train is in 13 minutes (when I first arrived it said 20+ mins since the MBTA doesn’t have a time if a train is more than 20 minutes away).

Seeing how relatively infrequent Red Line Service was I decided to forgo any more photo stops on it and headed to Downtown Crossing (Red Line)(7 Photos) where I transferred to the Orange Line(5 Photos)

I took a very crowded orange line train to Roxbury Crossing(8 Photos)

I correctly assumed that another train would be soon behind and continued to my ultimate destination of Stony Brook(9 Photos) that I really wanted to revisit (lack of photos from my original visit). There the countdown clocks said 20+ mins for the second train in each direction, I guess Boston doesn’t want to say over 20 (or assumes the clocks are messed up near terminuses that seems to be a bit of a problem)

I then headed back to Downtown Crossing and decided to use the Winter Street Concourse to Park Street, passing the Green Line(1 Photo) and then getting some photos finally from the island platform of the Red Line(6 Photos) where I was entertained by one of the worst Christmas Song performers ever!


I finished this long trip on the 2 (I only paid one $1.50 bus fare and the 50¢ transfer fee to the Green Line on my CharlieCard!) with a quick Red Line Trip out to Cambridge, getting off at Kendall/MIT(4 Photos) where I eventually met up with my parents and we drove bag to Needham late in the evening, long after the last trips on the #59 Bus.