Out-of-Town'er -- Transit Use from Airport

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Out-of-Town'er -- Transit Use from Airport

Postby easathor » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:39 pm

My wife's parents live in Central MA. In the spring - they will be moving from Orange to Athol. Around that time, we will be flying in to help a bit with their move. We haven't been to Massachusetts for a while now - and the last time we were there, her parents drove to Boston to pick us up. But now - due to age and health reasons, driving into Boston for them would not be preferred. Not to worry, I thought. We'll just use the transit system. It seems fairly straight-forward looking at the website. Blue line to Orange line to North Station -- then ride the Fitchburg line all the way to the end where it would be a much easier and shorter drive for her parents to pick us up.

What I'm curious about from people familiar with the line is: This all looks good on paper - but the reality is that we'll have luggage. Besides 2 pieces of carry-on, there will be at least 1 checked bag (a roller). It's pretty decent size and during trips my wife always seems to come in around the 50 lb mark when packing it. The possibility exists for a 2nd bag also - but for sure there will be the one (again, besides carry-on for each of us). How feasible is it to make the run described while having to wrangle luggage? Due to heavy ridership - is dealing with luggage on a run from (and later in the week the return trip) not really an option? Is it going to be one of those shoulder-to-shoulder things and not something we're going to realistically be able to do? I assume time-of-day is a big part - but on average is using the T with anything other than shoulder bags not an option we're going to want to consider?

Interestingly - my wife's parents are not good sources of info on this. They've never taken transit to the airport and thus don't have any real experience to offer an opinion. A Google search of mbta forums leads to a top result of railroad.net so I thought I would check here for real experience to offer an opinion. Thanks!
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Re: Out-of-Town'er -- Transit Use from Airport

Postby Rbts Stn » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:08 pm

During rush hour, that luggage will cause some folks to look askance at you, but if you can wrangle those bags through the connections and up/down any stairs you might meet, don't worry about it.

If you are arriving beyond rush hour I wouldn't worry about it at all
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Re: Out-of-Town'er -- Transit Use from Airport

Postby Diverging Route » Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:37 pm

With all that luggage it would be easier to take a taxi or Uber to North Station than do the bag-drag. Roughly $25.
Last edited by CRail on Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Unnecessary quote removed.
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Re: Out-of-Town'er -- Transit Use from Airport

Postby edbear » Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:49 pm

Why don't you send your belongings UPS or Fedex and avoid, carry-on fees, waiting for the luggage to appear at the airport and lugging it (and maybe losing it).
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Re: Out-of-Town'er -- Transit Use from Airport

Postby TomNelligan » Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:44 pm

Another possibility that eliminates one transfer (versus taking the airport bus from your terminal to the Blue Line station then Blue Line/Orange Line/Fitchburg train) would be to take the Silver Line from your airport terminal to South Station, the Red Line to Porter Square, and the Fitchburg commuter rail line from there. The Silver Line electro-buses have luggage racks and there are escalators and/or elevators at South Station and Porter. The only downside is that if you have to wait a while for your Fitchburg train, North Station has amenities like food options and a bar and seating that Porter lacks.

Both the Orange Line and Red Line will be very crowded at rush hour. That's an unfortunate fact of life.
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Re: Out-of-Town'er -- Transit Use from Airport

Postby johnpbarlow » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:44 am

Given there are two of you going from Logan Airport to North Station with luggage, I vote for Uber as a relatively painless option. The good news from a luggage handling perspective is that both North Station and Wachusett station feature high level platform access. And the Wachusett station has a ramp to get from the platform up to the pick-up/drop-off area.

https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Boston-Logan-Airport/North-Station

PS: a virtue of Tom’s Silver Line to Red Line option is it should be free since, IIRC Silver Line buses from the airport don’t charge a fare. And once you’re at South Station, you would be inside the subway system so the red line trip should also be free.
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Re: Out-of-Town'er -- Transit Use from Airport

Postby DaWolf85 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:56 pm

You'll be fine taking the Red Line at rush hour with bags (speaking from experience). Maybe a few odd looks but no big deal. The Orange Line at rush hour with bags is absolutely not going to work, however - it's barely a functional transport option at rush hour even without bags. The Silver Line gets quite crowded leaving the airport, but there are bag racks on those buses so you should be fine there. Outside of rush hour, any route will be fine.

I would say there are two preferred routes for this purpose. One is the Silver-Red to Porter, where you transfer to the Fitchburg Line, as previously mentioned by other posters. Google Maps believes this is fastest, and it also saves you the trouble of acquiring CharlieCards/CharlieTickets to make the subway portion of the journey - Silver Line is free from the airport and gives a gate-free transfer to the Red Line. Not paying the fare would likely save some additional time.

My other suggestion is Silver-Red-Orange to North Station (or Silver-Red-Green to North Station if the Orange line isn't having a good day). This is also free, like the above option, because the transfer from the Red to Orange/Green is gate-free. The main advantage of this is I think it may be easier to buy tickets at North Station. If you buy tickets on the train, they are more expensive, and your other option is to buy tickets using the M-Ticket app, which, depending on your comfort level with mobile apps, may not be your preferred option. If you buy tickets at North Station there's no real hassle and no anxiety about whether it will work - and there's no surcharge for it either. Additionally, you will be at high-level platforms the whole way, as opposed to the low-level platform at Porter, and you won't have to deal with the long trip to the surface at Porter (longest on the system IIRC). However, this option will take longer, and wouldn't be usable at rush hour because the Orange and Green lines are packed at that time of day.
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Re: Out-of-Town'er -- Transit Use from Airport

Postby TomNelligan » Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:20 pm

DaWolf85 wrote:The main advantage of this is I think it may be easier to buy tickets at North Station. If you buy tickets on the train, they are more expensive, and your other option is to buy tickets using the M-Ticket app, which, depending on your comfort level with mobile apps, may not be your preferred option.


Just FYI, Porter Square has ticket vending machines for the rail side as well as the Red Line. So you don't need to buy on the train and in fact would have to pay the on-board penalty fare if you did. What the station does lack is a seated indoor waiting area, just outdoor benches.

Additionally, you will be at high-level platforms the whole way, as opposed to the low-level platform at Porter, and you won't have to deal with the long trip to the surface at Porter (longest on the system IIRC).


Porter also has a partial high level platform that's the boarding point for all off-peak trains and an optional entry at rush hour. As for the impressively long escalator ride from the subway level to the railroad, I find that sort of fun, but then again I'm easily amused by mechanical things. :-)
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Re: Out-of-Town'er -- Transit Use from Airport

Postby BostonUrbEx » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:13 pm

I personally would go Silver Line to South Station, Red Line to Porter, and Fitchburg Line to Wachusett. That is only a three seat ride, compared to four via the Blue Line (you need to take a shuttle to the Blue Line). In addition, boarding the Silver Line at the airport is FREE and provides a free transfer to the Red Line. The Blue Line would require a subway fare. When you get to Porter, use a fare vending machine to purchase your tickets ahead of time, as there is an on-board surcharge.
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Re: Out-of-Town'er -- Transit Use from Airport

Postby jonnhrr » Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:28 pm

Another possibility with a bit more driving for the people picking you up is Silver Line to South Station then Red Line to Alewife. Alewife is at the end of Route 2 so it's a straight shot out to Athol from there, although you do have the annoyance of the non-expressway bit through Concord and the dreaded rotary. Probably not a good idea at rush hour as the rotary gets very backed up, but OK at other times.
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Re: Out-of-Town'er -- Transit Use from Airport

Postby Komarovsky » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:46 am

If you don't mind paying a bit extra, you can catch the Massport Logan Express shuttle from any terminal to Copley, and then take a short walk to the Back Bay Orange Line station. Shuttle is $7.50 per person, but off rush hour its only 15-20 minutes from the airport to Copley in my experience. Plus by the spring you'll be able to walk underground from the North Station Orange Line station into the commuter rail section.
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