Temporary Stations (North Station Fire)

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Temporary Stations (North Station Fire)

Postby russp » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:03 pm

During the period January 1984 thru April 1985, following the fire and closure of the Charles River Bridge, MBTA trains on the ex-B&M routes used temporary passenger terminals near Sullivan Square and an engine house. Does anyone know what names for these stations were shown in MBTA public timetables ? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
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Postby bmcdr » Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:12 am

I far as I can recall, the only mention in the timetables as to these temporary stations, was that Eastern Route trains would terminate at Sullivan Square and Western Route trains would terminate at Oak Grove. At that time I owned a brakeman's job on the night Lowell and we, as well as the Fitchburg trains, were terminating at the temporary station next to Boston Sand & Gravel which didn't have an official name other than Temporary North Station. The only cover from the weather was a large white circus tent with yellow stripes, the temporary station soon became known as "Tent City", it was a very cold and drafty affair. During the second winter we spent at the "temporary station", a pre-fab building was brought in to replace the tent.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:50 pm

So what was this fire that knocked out North Station?
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Postby TomNelligan » Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:39 pm

On January 20, 1984 a fire seriously damaged the wood piling approaches to the B&M's Charles River drawbridge on the North Station side. That isolated North Station from the rest of the system for the next fifteen months while the bridge approach was rebuilt, requiring the use of temporary terminals for all North Side commuter trains. (The drawbridge itself was not damaged.) The current concrete-decked trestlework was the result of the rebuilding.
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Postby bmcdr » Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:40 pm

A good portion of the yard at North Station was built on reclaimed land and pilings. In January 1984 there was a spectacular fie of suspicious origin that destroyed a lot of the trestle work and pilings between the station and the drawbridges. For a year and 4 months we made do with temporary stations, buses and subways to get people into Boston.
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Re: Temporary Stations (North Station Fire)

Postby dbperry » Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:04 am

I had no idea about this story and saw it mentioned in another thread. Here's a picture of the circus tent:

http://www.bostonsand.com/wp-content/ga ... e_1984.jpg

Via this original post:
http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 5#p1410302
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Re: Temporary Stations (North Station Fire)

Postby deathtopumpkins » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:17 pm

How did they get people into the city from the temporary station? Shuttle buses? Or were people just told to walk?
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Re: Temporary Stations (North Station Fire)

Postby bmcdr » Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:11 pm

deathtopumpkins wrote:How did they get people into the city from the temporary station? Shuttle buses? Or were people just told to walk?

Shuttle Buses.
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Re: Temporary Stations (North Station Fire)

Postby The EGE » Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:43 pm

Quoting from Jonathan Belcher's comprehensive history:

Initially, shuttle buses were operated from Boston Engine Terminal to Lechmere, for commuter rail passengers to connect to the Green Line. When it became apparent that reconstruction of the pier would require diversions to continue for at least a year, the shuttle was rerouted to North Station in March 1984 and scheduled as Route 81 Boston Engine Terminal-North Station. The shuttle operated until reconstruction was finished in April 1985, and normal commuter rail operation into North Station was resumed.
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Re:

Postby b&m 1566 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:03 am

TomNelligan wrote:On January 20, 1984 a fire seriously damaged the wood piling approaches to the B&M's Charles River drawbridge on the North Station side. That isolated North Station from the rest of the system for the next fifteen months while the bridge approach was rebuilt, requiring the use of temporary terminals for all North Side commuter trains. (The drawbridge itself was not damaged.) The current concrete-decked trestlework was the result of the rebuilding.


Were there any trains stuck at North Station during that time period?
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Re: Temporary Stations (North Station Fire)

Postby TomNelligan » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:14 am

No. The fire began during the predawn hours when the station was empty.
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Re: Temporary Stations (North Station Fire)

Postby TPR37777 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:50 am

Large portions of Boston consist of fill, why would they bother with the complexity of the piers when they could just have filled in the area? Hell the whole area around BET used to be the Millers River wasn't it? I find it hard to believe it was due to environmental regulations as I was under there once searching for a drowning victim and all of the old wooden pilings are still there along with almost 400 years of debris.
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Re: Temporary Stations (North Station Fire)

Postby jaymac » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:57 am

TPR37777-
Dunno if your search found anyone, but good going on still being around to post.
Environmental -- particularly wetlands -- protections are relatively recent concerns. Back then and still now, navigation trumped railroads, marine access to places in and around the Lechmere area continuing into the 20th century. Bringing "made" land up to navigation channels required sinking pilings, erecting waling, and back-filling with whatever material could be gotten. The Millers was more a tidal estuary than a navigation resource, so it could be filled more readily. The area could still be mucky enough that pilings were put in as stabilizers. One more inland soil source would have been Asylum Hill, the pre-Belmont site of what would become McLean Hospital. Asylum Hill's real removal came when the Yard 8 and Yard 9 humps just east of the Washington Street UGB were put in before the Depression.
Particularly after WWII, less-than-benign neglect characterized maintenance of channel edging as commercial marine service onto the Charles diminished and then disappeared.
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Re: Temporary Stations (North Station Fire)

Postby TomNelligan » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:28 pm

For those who weren't around at the time, this is what the fire scene looked like in the morning as Massport and Boston fireboats attended to hot spots. Sorry about the non-optimum quality... I don't have my original negative or print handy so I scanned this out of a book I did, but you get the idea.
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Re: Temporary Stations (North Station Fire)

Postby jbvb » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:09 am

B&M Bulletins of that era had a good deal of coverage of the fire, the makeshift operations, the reconstruction and the re-opening.
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