Chinatown Station/ Essex Discussion

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Postby Ron Newman » Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:57 pm

Surveyors might be working for whatever developer is going to build on the Hayward Place parking lot. The discontinued northbound exit headhouse is at the edge of that lot.
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Postby sery2831 » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:12 pm

I was thinking the same thing.
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Chinatown sealed connecting passage?

Postby Austin023 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:38 am

I once read an article about abandoned T stations and it mentioned a sealed-off passageway at Chinatown station that connects the inbound and outbound platforms. I have never been able to find much about it or where the entrances to it might have been within the station. Apparently (from what I recall) it was sealed off either before the station was opened to the public in 1908 or very soon thereafter. Does anyone know about this? I always thought it was kind of odd the station seemingly lacked a way to go between outbound/inbound platforms like most of the other older T stations. I am aware of the couple of old entrances/exits/stairways were closed off back in the 1970s. Is there any truth to that (of a long-sealed connecting passage)? Really got my curiosity up ;)
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Re: Chinatown sealed connecting passage?

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:03 pm

It is true and it is sealed. It's not the only one.
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Re: Chinatown sealed connecting passage?

Postby The EGE » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:14 pm

The northbound platform has a fenced-up passage at its far north end. This serves as an emergency exit; it may also be the way to the connecting passage. This is looking through the fence:

Image

Only one station, to my knowledge, has a closed passage still visible. This is the boarded up passage on the inbound end of the inbound platform at Boylston:

Image

(Both pictures my work via Wikimedia Commons)
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Re: Chinatown sealed connecting passage?

Postby The EGE » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:41 pm

Correction: that emergency exit was not the sub-passage entrance. the sub-passage went under the Boylston/Washington/Essex Streets intersection. This from the 1905 BTC report.

This view is from the south end of the northbound platform. The sub-passage was located about where the hatch in the floor is.

Image
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Re: Chinatown sealed connecting passage?

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:50 pm

The EGE wrote:Correction: that emergency exit was not the sub-passage entrance. the sub-passage went under the Boylston/Washington/Essex Streets intersection.

The sub-passage's west side is directly in line with the street entrance to the outbound side on Boylston. Here's the sign above the station's outbound Lagrange Street entrance that still exists. The entrance is also closed off as an emergency exit and BFD access.
Image

Image
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Re: Chinatown sealed connecting passage?

Postby Austin023 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:44 am

Hey thanks guys! Very interesting...I have seen a few pics (and snuck a peek through the gratings in the station) of the closed off LaGrange Street, etc. exits that have the old tilework, etc.......I wonder why the sub-passage was never opened? So, basically it was sealed up and has been sitting closed off even to inspection access for some 104-odd years?
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Re: Chinatown sealed connecting passage?

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:43 pm

I don't have pictures, or know the exact location, but there's also two structures right outside Chinatown each labeled "IN" and "OUT". I'm surprised those haven't been mentioned, as they're both pretty sweet.
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Re: Chinatown sealed connecting passage?

Postby Austin023 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:37 pm

theseaandalifesaver wrote:I don't have pictures, or know the exact location, but there's also two structures right outside Chinatown each labeled "IN" and "OUT". I'm surprised those haven't been mentioned, as they're both pretty sweet.


Yes! Those two structures are at the corner of Washington St. and Hayward Pl.; they were once an entrance/exit that were originally built right into a building that I believe once upon a time was a department store. The building itself has been gone for more than 20 years now. I recall until about 7 years ago the grates blocking the stairs at those closed entrances were just longitudinal bars so you could peer inside and plainly see the staircases, signs, even the old blue and white tile and two mosaics that read "Essex" at the top.....the new doors that the T put up about 2005 are solid, so those details are obscured now from street view. I wish I had taken a picture of it back then.

But as for the sealed off sub-passage, does anyone know why it was never used? Looking at the plans posted above, it looks as though it has a good deal of stairs and two sharp curves---maybe a liability issue?
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Re: Chinatown sealed connecting passage?

Postby 3rdrail » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:01 pm

You might see the Lagrange Entrance/Exit recopened sometime soon. With the neighborhood undergoing gentrification it's not the old rip roaring Zone anymore like it was. Having said that, if it does open, I would be surprised if it were opened after dark as it's construction pre-dates the numbers of creepy-crawlers out in this day who will wait in unseen corners for people to rob. This entrance has too many of these little hidden areas and although possibly I'm overly-critical of this particular location due to it's pedigree, I still believe that it would be a problem. Centerfolds isn't the problem but the neighborhood still attracts undesireables occasionally, although not like the "good old days". The policeman performing the detail at Centerfolds contractually could not regularly check the foyer here and District 1 is already tied up with bar fights in the neighborhood. Degenerates would have a timing down pat where you did a robbery and jumped on a sitting outbound train for a quick getaway. But, as I said, due to the neighborhood change, I can see a sort of "Bowdoin" schedule here. (If they do, I'd love to see it's name go back to "Boylston" and have that yicky wooden "Essex" sign taken off the "Boylston" mosaic at the top of the stairs [you can my full photo of the sign on the linked other thread]) - (rename "Boylston Street Station" "Boston Common".) The question regarding the sub-subway is a neat mystery which I don't know the answer to, however I'm sure that the answer lies in a BTC journal.
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Re: Chinatown sealed connecting passage?

Postby Ron Newman » Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:54 pm

No, please don't change the name back to Boylston. It was, and would be, very confusing to have two stations with the same name, a block apart, and no connection between them.
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Re: Chinatown sealed connecting passage?

Postby SM89 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:23 pm

Ron Newman wrote:No, please don't change the name back to Boylston. It was, and would be, very confusing to have two stations with the same name, a block apart, and no connection between them.


That's why he suggested changing Boylston to "Boston Common". I feel like Chinatown is a bad name for the station anyway though.
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Re: Chinatown sealed connecting passage?

Postby Ron Newman » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:40 pm

Park Street station also serves Boston Common. Most people who want to go to the Common will get off there.
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Re: Chinatown Station/ Essex Discussion

Postby Austin023 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:51 pm

Thanks for the info. 3rdrail :)
I noticed the thread I started last week was merged with this one...sorry for the mix-up. Only after I was doing a Google search with more specific terms regarding my original question of the passage did this dormant thread come up with the same question asked by someone else essentially, back in '07 (though this time around more information about the sub-passage was brought up).....I did find a couple of Boston Transit Commission reports, engineering plans for Essex/Boylston as well some descriptions that mentioned the sub-passage briefly, yet nothing mentioned about it being sealed up. But in any case, the T ought to reopen those closed off stairs as we have the Charlie system in place, even if it was just during daylight as that is when the station used most.

Though I did find some interesting things about the Chinatown stations in that Google search, about when they were first opened in 1908:
The Essex station had telephone booths. A link is here that shows a picture of those booths about the time the station opened:
http://books.google.com/books?id=HYYfAQ ... on&f=false

There are a couple of other pictures in the BTC report from 1908 that show the Essex or Boylston interiors as they were originally....the picture of the Essex side was taken at almost the same exact spot as the picture posted in an above post last week....The hatch in the floor is plainly visible, as well as a fence to the right, seperating the platform from the fair collection area...but not enough in view to see if there is a staircase as that would be the location of the sub-passage (according to the plans in the BTC report). The report does mention that the sub-passage is 6 feet high....I guess about the average height as the others in the T system of that era....but it does have a good amount of stairs and turns, by the looks of the plans. Maybe it was a logistics issue, though it appears both sides are outside the fare-controlled area. Or perhaps it was an engineering/quality control defect, like the passage was prone to flooding, etc. That might be why there is no mention of it being sealed in the reports.
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