Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

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Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby Woodcrest295 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:16 am

What are the nicest MBTA commuter rail stations that are not Amtrak stations?

I was able to explore the System this past week and was saddened by the appearance of many of the Commuter Rail stations. Most were just a paved blacktop platform with a couple outdated lights. No waiting room or information. Many of the CR maps or signs were horribly out of date, non existent, or really deteriorated, and i thought SEPTA stations were bad. So besides North, South, Backbay, Providence, and Route 128 what are the nicest MBTA stations. I am looking for an attractive station building (open to train passengers), hopefully high level platform in good condition, and up to date maps and signage. There have to be some out there that i didnt see.
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Re: Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby diburning » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:58 am

TF Green Airport and Wickford Junction are two I can think of off the top of my head. These two stations also happen to be some of the newest ones added to the system.
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Re: Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:20 pm

Woodcrest295 wrote:What are the nicest MBTA commuter rail stations that are not Amtrak stations?

I was able to explore the System this past week and was saddened by the appearance of many of the Commuter Rail stations. Most were just a paved blacktop platform with a couple outdated lights. No waiting room or information. Many of the CR maps or signs were horribly out of date, non existent, or really deteriorated, and i thought SEPTA stations were bad. So besides North, South, Backbay, Providence, and Route 128 what are the nicest MBTA stations. I am looking for an attractive station building (open to train passengers), hopefully high level platform in good condition, and up to date maps and signage. There have to be some out there that i didnt see.


Oh, definitely the 3 Old Colony lines which are all post-1997 high platform construction with very consistent appearance. They pretty much set the default identity/look for modern MBTA commuter rail station construction, which you can also see on the 1998 Newburyport extension at Rowley and Newburyport. Bright, attractive motif and the brushed steel on all the fixtures wears well over time. Can also check out the brand new and renovated Fairmount Line stations...all of them constructed or redone in the last 3 years except for the last two legacy stops at Fairmount and Readville. T.F. Green and Wickford Jct. on the Providence Line, which opened only a couple years ago. Relocated Littleton on the Fitchburg Line just opened last month. Anderson-Woburn on the Lowell Line and Downeaster is 2004 construction and a very large station that aims for mini-Route 128 like long-term growth. Lawrence on the Haverhill Line is a new, large transportation center. And there is very impressive-looking construction going on at almost-complete new Yawkey station on the Worcester Line. Check the thread on that, as there's a lot of construction pics. South Acton on the Fitchburg is under active construction. Wachusett on the Fitchburg (extension stop, so you have to drive) just broke ground a month ago. Salem and Beverly Depot on the Eastern Route have imminent platform construction coming after some arduous struggles on those way late and over-budget. Rockport rebuild may be starting soon, although that one has been snarled in delays for years.


Worcester Union Station is most definitely an attractive historic stop. And there are nice well-kept old-timey station buildings (albeit low-platformed) at Sharon, Attleboro, Swampscott, Stoughton, and couple other places. Plus some positively rustic-looking little huts straight out of the 19th century dotting the ex-B&M northside and the ex-B&A Worcester Line...especially the Fitchburg Line and the Wellesley stops on Worcester. Since the Cape Flyer is still running through Columbus Day, Buzzards Bay and Hyannis are a real scenic treat (well-maintained by Cape Cod Central RR and equipped with modern ADA mini-highs installed in the mid-90's when the Amtrak Cape Codder was still running).

They are WAY behind on ADA upgrades system-wide. Worcester LIne east of Framingham, most of the Fitchburg Line, and the inner (Wyoming Hill-North Wilmington) stops on the Haverhill/Reading Line are lagging concerningly behind on accessibility. Those whole routes are almost no-go for handicapped patrons. Also some heavy-use individual stations like Walpole and Franklin on the Franklin Line and Winchester Ctr. on the Lowell Line are high-priority accessibility cases they've dropped the ball on. And, they under obligation to Amtrak to raise all low Providence Line stations in the next 10 years to cut commuter rail dwell times on the NEC...no real action plan in place yet for making that happen.

As for lows...they are stuck with mini-highs only on the Worcester Line between Framingham and Grafton because it is a major wide-freight clearance route with no passenger-only turnouts except Worcester Union Station. So while all those stops are post-1994 construction with the same consistent prefab appearance as other new stops...they can only be lows with the single-door ADA mini-highs. Ditto the outer Fitchburg Line at Ayer, Shirley, and North Leominster (N. Leominster the only modern one so far), all Haverhill stops north of N. Wilmington except for Lawrence on a passenger-only turnout, all Lowell Line stops except for freight passing track-equipped Anderson and Lowell, and all Franklin Line stops between Windsor Gardens and Endicott. So those are always going to be asphalt + mini-high, albeit with a large repair and ADA backlog to tend to on those non-modern stops. Everything else--complete Newburyport/Rockport, last of the Fairmount outliers, all Providence/Stoughton, Reading-south, Fitchburg Littleton-points east, Walpole-south + Readville on the Franklin, all Needham (although that's one's bottom priority because it's 100% ADA-compliant mini-highs with sparser service)...are fair game for level boarding. If they ever give attention to it. Right now they're more concerned with blowing gobs of money on excessive commuter rail parking upgrades than they are improving accessibility and dwell times at the platforms.
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Re: Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby octr202 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:50 pm

Also, in comparison to SEPTA, you should note that the MBTA does not provide staffed stations for ticket sales, restrooms, and waiting areas at any stations other than the three terminals. Where such facilities exist, they are run by other entities, such as the Anderson Transportation Center joint venture in Woburn, or Amtrak at some stations.
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Re: Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby Elcamo » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:29 pm

I really only spend my time on the Newburyport/Rockport line, and I was really impressed when I got off at Rowley a few weeks ago. Looked like just the right amount of parking, a long and clean high level platform, all of it was really nice.

I can't wait to see the new Salem station, it will be one of the nicest once it's done IMO. Lynn desperately needs to be redone, but that's probobly going to be once the blue line finally comes.
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Re: Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby jwhite07 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:17 pm

Hastings. GORGEOUS I tell you!

(Yes, I'm kidding.)
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Re: Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby tvachon » Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:42 am

Littleton is very nice now. No inside seating but well thought out, a full high, even a nice place to take photos in the bridge
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Re: Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby charding » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:33 am

How about the Walpole Union Station? Understand that it is going through a limited rehab/repair - so much history...passenger friendly.
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Re: Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:34 pm

charding wrote:How about the Walpole Union Station? Understand that it is going through a limited rehab/repair - so much history...passenger friendly.


Might just be some minor repair, or related to the building. That very busy station is still completely AWOL on the ADA upgrades front, so whatever they're doing it does not involve equipping the platforms. That one can go full-high unlike the Franklin stops further upstream because the wide freights heading to Readville miss the platform on the wye track. Provided they can make the raising interface with the historic station building.


If full-time Foxboro commuter rail ever initiates it would get a second platform built on the southbound wye track.
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Re: Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby MBTA1016 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:24 pm

I do agree with the walpole station(yes I'm biased to it). Its all low level platform as previously mentioned. The Csx yard is right there as well. The station was getting its roof fixed, I don't know the status of that right now.
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Re: Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby Woodcrest295 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:56 am

Thanks for the info. I thought that Worcester was the nicest station. I just think i'm a little surprised the seeing nicer stations in Metro NY and Philly and not in Boston.
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Re: Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby ST214 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:57 pm

jwhite07 wrote:Hastings. GORGEOUS I tell you!

(Yes, I'm kidding.)


Do I hear Silver Hill? :)
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Re: Nicest commuter rail stations (non Amtrak)

Postby MBTA1016 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:47 pm

ST214 wrote:
jwhite07 wrote:Hastings. GORGEOUS I tell you!

(Yes, I'm kidding.)


Do I hear Silver Hill? :)


Don't forget plimptonville in walpole :) (not even able to be called a station)
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