Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby 3rdrail » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:36 pm

True...however, that's not what we're talking about here. This is a case of "it is what it is". If indeed this piston theory is correct, whether or not any executives at the T know about it, it has benefitted millions of people, both passengers and T personnel alike, by virtue of having the trackless trolleys in there. I'd actually be surprised if they didn't know about it, quite frankly, if for no other reason that I can't see Danny Cohen not telling them about it. Whether or not they would want to listen ? Who cares ! As long as the tracklesses are in there, we're golden either way.
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby jamesinclair » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:22 am

3rdrail wrote:True...however, that's not what we're talking about here. This is a case of "it is what it is". If indeed this piston theory is correct, whether or not any executives at the T know about it, it has benefitted millions of people, both passengers and T personnel alike, by virtue of having the trackless trolleys in there. I'd actually be surprised if they didn't know about it, quite frankly, if for no other reason that I can't see Danny Cohen not telling them about it. Whether or not they would want to listen ? Who cares ! As long as the tracklesses are in there, we're golden either way.


Every little bit that keeps trackless trolleys on the street is good news in my opinion.

On the other hand, if a study can show that the 77 is dangerous to passengers due to the emissions, I would love to see the entire 77 line electrified.

Quite frankly, I dont understand how in an era of concerns over CO emissions and oil consumption, electrifying more bus lines is not on the high priority list of things to do. The 25 year planning documents the MBTA releases (updated every 5 years) says nothing on the subject, even though it does include items such as the extension to lynn, orange line extension to 128, new green line branch to needham, silver line 3 etc etc which are not very likely at all.
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby Charliemta » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:59 am

I remember the old Harvard station quite well, having grown up in the 50's and 60's in North Cambridge.

In the 50's when I was a boy, the trackless trolley lines for Lechmere and Huron Ave ran in the tunnel along with the North Cambridge/Watertown/Waverly trolley cars. Of course the Arlington Heights trolley line ended around '57, which I do remember seeing as a lad of 7. Then, when the North Cambridge/Watertown/Waverly lines were changed to trackless trollley in '62 or '63, they ran in the tunnel. Diesel busses to Arlington and Medford started using the tunnel a couple of years later.

The tunnel layout was ingenious. Passenger tunnels ran directly to and from both bus levels and both ends of the bus tunnel platforms to both levels of the Red Line platforms. The ones to and from the North Cambridge trolley bus platforms were stacked on top of each other; the ones to and from the Waverly/Watertown platforms weaved, as they switched levels. Between the two sets of ramps were located the stairs and escalator for the old Harvard Square kiosk.
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby danib62 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:26 am

I think the complaints about air quality here are pretty overblown. I live near Harvard sq. and use the tunnel frequently and I've never felt that the air quality is particulalry bad especially in the post RTS age. Compared to Back Bay this is a breath of fresh air. Also how are you complaining that the 77 doesn't have enough boarding space? Compare that area to the average sidewalk. Also I think the curve makes it wider in parts then other parts of the platform.
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby octr202 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:14 am

As far as boarding delays, one idea I've always had in the back of my mind, if the T ever got to a point of having a unified fare for all local transit modes (subway and "rubber tired internal combustion surface transit coach") would be to create the first pre-paid bus platform outside the Silver Line. Putting the tunnel platforms inside fare control would greatly speed up upper level traffic flow (and make life easier on the 71 & 73 when they're overcrowded).

I guess in theory this could happen even without the level fare, as you could put a second row of faregates at the entrances to the bus tunnels in the main lobby, which would be based on the lower bus fare. Someone wanting to use the Brattle Sq. exit/entrance to/from the Red Line would have to use a bus transfer then to pass through the bus area faregates (which might cause problems later in their trip).
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:23 am

So, I guess a little more inclusive of the total Harvard package, especially rail. . .

IS there a source anywhere of decent photos of the station? I swear these two 1976 shots of the inbound platform from NYCsubway.org are the only ones I've ever been able to find of the original station in action. I don't think there's any Harvard-Holyoke pics either, just the couple shots of the outdoor Harvard-Brattle temp station and ample numbers inside the yard.
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby BostonUrbEx » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:22 am

If you check out a Barnes&Noble or Borders, go pick up a copy of "The Red Line: Bridging the Charles from Cambridge to Dorchester" (or something like that). It's an Images of America book, usually there will be a whole section of those types of books. There's a couple black and whites of the old station, but there really isn't too much of Harvard in the book, rather disappointing really.
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby 3rdrail » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:51 pm

(check out the tunnel before TT)
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby 3rdrail » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:03 pm

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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:46 pm

Where today would that temporary Harvard Brattel stop be?
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:06 pm

Adams_Umass_Boston wrote:Where today would that temporary Harvard Brattel stop be?


Basement corner office in the JFK School Building? Harvard-Brattle was the station in the yard. It was at the literal portal mouth. Right about here where those trees are dead-center behind the traffic light. Yard started below street level so there was a fence at the sidewalk and the portal spit out directly below it. They grafted the platforms on there and rigged up stairs and a prepayment area to the street, all outdoors. Portal's still sealed intact underneath that brick sidewalk, as the yard was just filled in with dirt up to street level when the JFK School and hotel were built and landscaped.
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:31 pm

Thank you. That helps a lot.
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby Disney Guy » Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:55 am

jamesinclair wrote:Of course the MBTA has it set up so that the 3 busiest lines are as far away from each other as possible. .

Doesn't this make sense? So that the larger crowds of the busy lines spill over into the intervening berth of a lighter loaded line instead of into each other?
octr202 wrote:would be to create the first pre-paid bus platform outside the Silver Line.

Long long time ago -- The Harvard bus tunnels were fare controlled. There was a fence dividing the upper, northbound, platform in half (I think that's pictured higher up in this thread) as part of the fare control. (Don't remember the lower platform) To me it made the station look much less spacious. I do remember turnstiles at the bottom of a staircase (wood single width escalator included?) from the upper platform to the street. (OT) I think the old Hynes Auditorium station bus portal on Newbury St. was also fare controlled.
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby Arborwayfan » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:14 pm

It seems reasonable that the Harvard tunnel would ahve been fare controlled at some point, because it fits BERy practice elsewhere.

The streetcar platforms at Dudley (loops and surface) were orginally fare controlled, or else became fare controlled early on, I believe, and I've seen pictures of Sullivan that suggest the same was true there. And wasn't the old Ashmont unloading area for the trolley fare controlled, in the sense that if you got off there your only choice was to go through the turnstiles even if you were not continuing by Red Line? (I did this maybe one time, and I was continuing by Red Line, so I don't remember for sure.)
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Re: Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

Postby Disney Guy » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:48 pm

(conjecture?)
About the picture above of the Harvard bus tunnel in the streetcar era ...
This is the boarding area of the lower (southbound) level.
At the left is the fare control fence, the alighting area is beyond and a ramp goes straight to the inbound train platform.
In the middle is the stairs up to the bus tunnel upper platform only.
Off the picture to the right would be the ramp from the outbound train platform.

Meanwhile when getting off the train in Harvard and walking alongside the train, the ramp to the upper platform was slightly off to the right and the ramp to the lower platform was slightly off to the left which matches the boarding halves of the bus platforms respectively. The stairs to the street would be in between.
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