CONSTANT EVOLUTION: THE HISTORY OF BOSTON’S SOUTH STATION

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Re: CONSTANT EVOLUTION: THE HISTORY OF BOSTON’S SOUTH STATIO

Postby Teamdriver » Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:34 am

Yes My Rail, basic eats , no traps or Best Buy kiosks. Kinda like this place, surrounded by $$$ places, they serve up freshly cooked , large sized slices , old time ambiance, located on the edge of Fanueil Hall, on Blackstone street ,by the pushcarts.... beaucoup cheap !
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Re: CONSTANT EVOLUTION: THE HISTORY OF BOSTON’S SOUTH STATIO

Postby wicked » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:00 am

The Union Station concourse is a mall adjacent to a train/bus station. Do you want that here?
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Re: CONSTANT EVOLUTION: THE HISTORY OF BOSTON’S SOUTH STATIO

Postby RailMike » Fri May 31, 2013 6:55 pm

There were at least two different types of wooden escalators on the T.

1) Step-type. The pictures that were posted in this thread were Otis units that are very similar to today's escalators, except they were made mostly of wood, with thick wooden cleats on the surface of the steps. Several escalators of this vintage may still be found at the flagship Macy's store at Herald Square in New York City, though mostly on the upper floor. As they've become something of a tourist attraction in recent years, rumor has it that some of them will actually be restored rather than replaced in the store's ongoing renovation. Note that the escalators pictured were a narrower "gauge"; about 16" wide while the narrowest they have at Macy's AFAIK are 24" wide.

2) Cleat-type. These escalators, based on the original 1890s design by Jesse W. Reno (most commonly identified as the inventor of the escalator), didn't really have steps as we know them. Instead, you had an inclined belt fitted with wooden slats or cleats that were sort of curved upward at the bottom. The last of these were removed from the T at (I think) Downtown Crossing in 1994. I believe another was at South Station, and I think it was affectionately called the "Escalator of death"; it was a "double" escalator, there were two parallel stairways going upward, with one of the handrails shared between them.

When the cleat-type escalators on the T were to be dismantled, the Smithsonian expressed interest in preserving one. Alas, it was too costly to do so, so the units were all but scrapped. I understand that a trolley museum in Maine managed to salvage some parts to put on display, but I never found out if they did anything with them. In any event, it turns out there was at least one more cleat-type escalator still in existence (and running!) as of 1996: in a service basement at the flagship Strawbridge & Clothier department store in Center City Philadelphia. I took some pictures of it and posted them here http://www.flickr.com/photos/63151554@N00/sets/72157633560940953/. This store closed in 2006.
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Re: CONSTANT EVOLUTION: THE HISTORY OF BOSTON’S SOUTH STATIO

Postby ThinkNarrow » Fri May 31, 2013 11:49 pm

What I remember most about the T escalators was that the handrails evidently ran off pulleys that were larger in diameter than those that operated the treads, but rotated at the same speed, which makes sense. However, the result was that the speed of the handrails was slightly faster than the speed of the treads. Thus, if I held onto the handrails for dear life, as I was wont to do because of the uneven footing, my head and shoulders were way far in front of the rest of my body by the time I got half way up the escalator. The only way to solve this problem was to tempt fate and let go of the handrails for a moment and reposition my hands at new locations. While those escalators were wondrous to behold, I can't say that I really miss them.

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Re: CONSTANT EVOLUTION: THE HISTORY OF BOSTON’S SOUTH STATIO

Postby 3rdrail » Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:39 am

If you run up against similar ones in the future, let the handrails slide in your hands a little while keeping hold of them. Think rappelling.
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Re: CONSTANT EVOLUTION: THE HISTORY OF BOSTON’S SOUTH STATIO

Postby Rbts Stn » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:26 am

Escalator between tracks 1 and 3 at Back Bay has handrails that were never the same speed as the treads.
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Re: CONSTANT EVOLUTION: THE HISTORY OF BOSTON’S SOUTH STATIO

Postby joshg1 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:00 am

South Station is only part of this story, but I didn't want to tack it on a dead N-S Link thread.

I found this looking for something else. The map is here, http://maps.bpl.org/id/m8695, and the text here, http://www.archive.org/stream/largeraspectsofp00bost/largeraspectsofp00bost_djvu.txt

It's a 1914 (City report to Commonwealth commission) plan for new roads and rail tunnels through downtown, with a number of new stations (stars). The green line is the North-South rail link. The black one is a freight only road over the B&A starting at Comm Ave. The blue is a new road between Tremont and Washington Streets and a rail link to from the B&A and New Haven to older North Station. The report assumes the B&A will be electrified as will the Providence line, and that Providence trains should run on the elevated. Area branch lines were to be strung with wires for trolleys. All transportation within the "Metropolitan District" was to be taken over by the state, all new lines to be built and owned by the state, leased to operators. I get the idea the N-S link was presumed to be imminent (New Haven/B&M merger scuttled about this time).

Except for the road through downtown, a not entirely bad bunch of ideas. Reminds me of Philadelphia. Although in the end I think it would have hastened the exodus for the suburbs and made city traffic worse. Think of these scenarios- I had an office on Milk St, but now that it's so easy to get to Arlington where I live, I'll move my office there. Or-I live in Quincy and now it's easier for me to work in Melrose. Then I buy a car and drive through town b/c there are no bypasses.
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Re: CONSTANT EVOLUTION: THE HISTORY OF BOSTON’S SOUTH STATIO

Postby octr202 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:06 am

Those plans would have left us with a much more robust rail system in the region. I suspect that even if only some of the area's rail lines had been electrified in the 1910s-1930s, we'd have gradually seen an increase. Look at how that's happened in Philadelphia and New Jersey over the years. Yes, as we get closer to modern times, it's gotten slower and more expensive, but having a base to start off of made it much easier.

As for the roads - we essentially got those roads...the Central Artery and the Mass Pike. Just when they did finally arrive, they moved a LOT more traffic than these proposals likely would have, and they contained no improvements in rail transit. So we sort of got the worst of both worlds (from the viewpoint that improving rail transit is a good thing, usually shared here).
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