Before the Alewife Extension

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Before the Alewife Extension

Postby B&Mguy » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:44 pm

I apologize in advance that this question does slightly get into trackless trolleys, but I'll try to keep it as Red Line focused as possible.

Riding the Red Line to Alewife every night, it seems like the bulk of the heavy rush hour crowds get off at Porter and Davis. It makes me wonder where all these crowds went prior to the extension opening in 1984. The 77 and 77A Trackless routes must have been packed every night. Does anyone on here remember how bad the local routes in the area were prior to the Alewife extensions opening? Did Harvard also get extremely crowded with so many people transferring?
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Re: Before the Alewife Extension

Postby edbear » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:07 pm

From Harvard there was also an Arlington Heights bus route, 79 I think, that ran limited to first stop beyond the North Cambridge tt yard, 2 min. headway in peak hours. Limited service all day until mid-evening and on Sundays. In trolley days there were also Arlington Hts. Limiteds and short turns to Arlington Ctr. and North Cambridge. Davis passengers probably used, the 88 (I think) out of Lechmere.
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Re: Before the Alewife Extension

Postby Disney Guy » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:56 pm

In those days both the 71 (Watertown Sq.) and 73 (Waverly) trackless lines through routed past Harvard to North Cambridge.
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Re: Before the Alewife Extension

Postby wicked » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:10 am

The 77 used to run pick-up only from Harvard to at least the North Cambridge carhouse, if not the Arlington line. And I think the 71/73 and 77A are still through-routed, no?
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Re: Before the Alewife Extension

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:28 am

wicked wrote:The 77 used to run pick-up only from Harvard to at least the North Cambridge carhouse, if not the Arlington line. And I think the 71/73 and 77A are still through-routed, no?


The 77A was officially abolished a few years ago, but the other lines run thru to the carhouse much more often and backfill that loss. So it still exists in 'stealth'.
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Re: Before the Alewife Extension

Postby MBTA3247 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:31 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
wicked wrote:The 77 used to run pick-up only from Harvard to at least the North Cambridge carhouse, if not the Arlington line. And I think the 71/73 and 77A are still through-routed, no?


The 77A was officially abolished a few years ago, but the other lines run thru to the carhouse much more often and backfill that loss. So it still exists in 'stealth'.

The TT's only operate between Harvard and North Cambridge during shift changes. These pull-ins/pull-outs are still signed 77A.
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Re: Before the Alewife Extension

Postby RailBus63 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:35 pm

wicked wrote:The 77 used to run pick-up only from Harvard to at least the North Cambridge carhouse, if not the Arlington line.


Correct – route 77 buses to Arlington Heights ran as ‘Limited’ between Harvard and Cameron Avenue (the street just past the carhouse). Pickups only outbound, drop-offs only inbound. At one time, they ran this way Monday through Saturday in conjunction with full-time trackless service from North Cambridge.

MBTA3247 wrote:The TT's only operate between Harvard and North Cambridge during shift changes. These pull-ins/pull-outs are still signed 77A.


Technically, since 1976 they’ve always been signed as ’77 NORTH CAMBRIDGE’ without the ‘A’ (abbreviated to ‘77 NO. CAMBRIDGE’ on the 4100’s). The Flyers often would display the 71 WATERTOWN or 73 WAVERLEY outbound signs when operating on a through-route inbound from the carhouse but the Neoplan TT’s I’ve seen always display the ’77 HARVARD STA’ sign when running inbound down Massachusetts Ave.

To answer the original poster’s question – yes, the 77 was a much heavier route prior to the opening of the Northwest Extension, as were other feeder routes (both the 74 and 78 also had rush hour limited service on the section of Concord Ave. shared with the 72 trackless trolleys). Keep in mind also that passengers on the 87 and 88 routes would ride those buses all the way to Lechmere instead of getting off at Davis Square.
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Re: Before the Alewife Extension

Postby Aerie » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:31 am

When I was a little kid (1950s), street cars were still running on Mass. Ave to Harvard station. The local street cars between North Cambridge and Harvard were elderly Type (I think) trolley cars, but the Arlington Heights Limited streetcars were the (then) relatively new PCC cars. We lived near Davis Square in Somerville, and I frequently went to Harvard Square with my mom, and I used to complain that we had to ride on the old and bumpy trolley cars while the nice new PCC cars passed us by without stopping. I guess the reasoning for not allowing local traffic on the PCCs was so that the people riding a long way to Arlington Heights could get a seat, and not have all the local riders grabbing them. There were only 2 tracks, so the PCCs could not pass the older cars and run truly express. I think streetcar service was ended because the PCC cars were needed for the Riverside line.
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Re: Before the Alewife Extension

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:01 am

Aerie wrote:When I was a little kid (1950s), street cars were still running on Mass. Ave to Harvard station. The local street cars between North Cambridge and Harvard were elderly Type (I think) trolley cars, but the Arlington Heights Limited streetcars were the (then) relatively new PCC cars. We lived near Davis Square in Somerville, and I frequently went to Harvard Square with my mom, and I used to complain that we had to ride on the old and bumpy trolley cars while the nice new PCC cars passed us by without stopping. I guess the reasoning for not allowing local traffic on the PCCs was so that the people riding a long way to Arlington Heights could get a seat, and not have all the local riders grabbing them. There were only 2 tracks, so the PCCs could not pass the older cars and run truly express. I think streetcar service was ended because the PCC cars were needed for the Riverside line.


Riverside was the excuse (it was the excuse for bustituting everything), but killing the North Cambridge lines also allowed final retirement of the Type 5's. The last of them were purged in 1958-59. They did bring in those 25 ex-Dallas PCC's the same year, but retiring the 5's was still a net reduction to the overall fleet.
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Re: Before the Alewife Extension

Postby Charliemta » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:29 pm

This photo is where Mass Ave crosses the old railroad line at Cameron Ave, where the Red Line now crosses.

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Re: Before the Alewife Extension

Postby Gerry6309 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:51 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
Aerie wrote:When I was a little kid (1950s), street cars were still running on Mass. Ave to Harvard station. The local street cars between North Cambridge and Harvard were elderly Type (I think) trolley cars, but the Arlington Heights Limited streetcars were the (then) relatively new PCC cars. We lived near Davis Square in Somerville, and I frequently went to Harvard Square with my mom, and I used to complain that we had to ride on the old and bumpy trolley cars while the nice new PCC cars passed us by without stopping. I guess the reasoning for not allowing local traffic on the PCCs was so that the people riding a long way to Arlington Heights could get a seat, and not have all the local riders grabbing them. There were only 2 tracks, so the PCCs could not pass the older cars and run truly express. I think streetcar service was ended because the PCC cars were needed for the Riverside line.


Riverside was the excuse (it was the excuse for bustituting everything), but killing the North Cambridge lines also allowed final retirement of the Type 5's. The last of them were purged in 1958-59. They did bring in those 25 ex-Dallas PCC's the same year, but retiring the 5's was still a net reduction to the overall fleet.


In reality, the 79 Arlington Heights - Harvard line was bussed in 1955, long before Riverside was even dreamed of. It was part of the policy of phasing out the lines operated by Type 5s in favor of 40 foot diesel buses. The PCCs running on the 79, were used to bump most of the Type 5s off the 71, 73 and 82 (Harvard - North Cambridge). The grade crossing elimination at Waverly included a track extension allowing PCCs to loop there. The 79 also used Type 5s during rush hours, especially on the short turn to Arlington Center (no loop). All of the lines converted in 1955 could not have been operated with 35 foot or smaller buses. Also converted at that time were the Fellsway Line and Blue Hill Av. Today only Blue Hill Av. sees heavy ridership along the entire route.
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