1987 back bay station

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1987 back bay station

Postby enterprise11 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:59 pm

I was doing some reading on back bay station today and learned that the current structure was built in 1987the to replace the original 1900s building. How much of the original building remains today? Are the platforms for tracks 1 and 2 original? When the current building was being built did they pick up and drop off passengers there?
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby ck4049 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:47 am

There really arent that many remains of the old Back Bay Station. All the platforms that are in use at that station are totally new as of 1987.
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby TomNelligan » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:45 am

When the current building was being built did they pick up and drop off passengers there?


Yes, although it was a typical construction mess. Framingham/Worcester service on the B&A ran normally throughout the project and used part of a platform on the north side. All Northeast Corridor service was rerouted through Dorchester during the construction of the Orange Line/Amtrak ditch, but the MBTA operated a frequent Back Bay-South Station shuttle, usually a pair of RDCs. That used a section of a platform at the east end of the station. Access to all this was via various temporary stairs and ramps.
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby enterprise11 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:50 pm

Interesting! If they re-routed NEC service up the dorchester branch, does that mean that the NEC tracks running through the station were re-built?
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby TomNelligan » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:53 pm

If by "rebuilt" you mean replaced with new rails and ties, yes. If you mean moved around, the old and new stations are in the same place but I'm sure there were some small lateral shifts in the exact position of the NEC trackage since it was a complete reconstruction.
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby The EGE » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:16 pm

I believe I can provide some answers here. I've actually been doing research on Back Bay lately to improve the Wikipedia article.

There have been no less than 7 distinct stations at Back Bay. Originally there were none - the Boston & Albany (nee Boston & Worcester) and the New Haven (nee Old Colony, nee Boston & Providence) crossed at Back Bay to their separate terminals at Kneeland Street and Park Square. The B&A built two stations - Columbus Avenue outbound and Huntington Avenue (#1) inbound - in 1880. When the downtown termini were combined with South Station starting in 1899, both the B&A and the New Haven built new stations in the Back Bay area.

The New Haven opened Back Bay station (#1) in 1899 more or less on the modern location. The B&A opened Trinity Place and Huntington Avenue (#2) the next year.
Image
(Source: public domain from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... p_1902.PNG )

The first Back Bay station burned in 1928:
Image
(Source: attribution-noncommercial-non derivatives from http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_pub ... otostream/ )

It was torn down and nothing remains; a second Back Bay station was built to replace it. The platforms were not on the modern location; instead, they curved west under the station building as far as Yarmouth Street. Trinity Place and Huntington Avenue came down with the Mass Pike building around 1962; nothing remains of them either. A hole was cut in the side of Back Bay station to access the tracks: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/ma/m ... 6679pv.jpg

The 1929 station was torn down starting in 1979; only one piece remains. Take a look at the west face of the building: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/ma/m ... 6675pv.jpg

See the panel at top: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/ma/m ... 6680pv.jpg

That panel is embedded into a wall on the east side of Columbus Avenue:
Image
(Source: My image, attribution-sharealike: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... e_wall.JPG

That's the only thing that remains of the six previous stations, to my knowledge. There's not a hell of a lot of images of most of the previous stations, especially the B&A stations. I've accumulated a small collection in the subcategories here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Categ ... TA_station)

The 1929 station, because it lasted the longest, has more documentation. The Historical American Engineering Record includes a set of nice images from around 1970: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=P ... ry&sg=true
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby MBTA3247 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:40 pm

TomNelligan wrote:If by "rebuilt" you mean replaced with new rails and ties, yes. If you mean moved around, the old and new stations are in the same place but I'm sure there were some small lateral shifts in the exact position of the NEC trackage since it was a complete reconstruction.

The current Back Bay Station was built as part of the Southwest Corridor project, which shifted the NEC from above grade to below grade between (roughly) Forest Hills and Back Bay, and also moved the Orange Line into the same ROW.
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby wicked » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:26 pm

In the first of the c. 1970 photos, it appears to be taken from where Copley Place stands today. Looks like it was a parking lot? Or a road? What was there?
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby The EGE » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:47 am

Yes, the photo was taken from across Dartmouth Street, about where Copley Place and the track 5&7 exit is now. At the time, it was a rather dead space, with an exit ramp from the Pike. That entrance ramp has been completely changed; it's now a single exit to Huntington, with no connection to Dartmouth.
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:06 am

What was the track layout like prep-orange line?
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby The EGE » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:28 am

Four tracks, two island platforms.
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby NYNE » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:29 pm

EGE, thanks for posting the link to the old photos of Back Bay station. I went to school on Marlborough Street for a year in 1979 and I ended up spending a lot of time in the old Back Bay. It was a rather simple building but I think it was vastly superior to its replacement.

One of my favorite memories is waiting on the platform for the Needham train to arrive in the afternoon, usually a pair of RDCs, when the Amtrak would arrive. I just thought the automatic doors and stairs on the Amfleet cars were the coolest (and most modern) things I had ever seen on a railroad.
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby jonnhrr » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:16 pm

Brian, I had similar memories although at an earlier time (1969-1970) when I would take the train back to school in PA. The classic old station would only have a handful of passengers at the early hour I left, few enough that we could fit on the freight elevator along with the baggageman down to the platform. A couple of times I got to see the UAC Turbo make its stop then leave with a roar of jet engines, it was nice to see something clean and modern on the RR, mostly it was dirty PC ex-NH coaches with cracked windows.

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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby TrainManTy » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:46 am

Does anybody know why the track numbering on both the 1929 and modern station is the way it is? From south to north: 2, 1, 3, 5, 7. The 1929 station also had a track 4 just south of 2.

Even before they expanded the station in 1962 to include the Worcester Line...why not 1, 2, 3, 4?

EDIT: Never mind. Instead, what happened to Track 4?
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Re: 1987 back bay station

Postby ohalloranchris » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:13 am

Big stories in the Globe and Herald today regarding an upcoming development / update to Back Bay.

The full article with pictures appears below. Nice to read that funding is included to improve ventilation at track level. As many of us know, it's been a murky smoggy unhealthy mess down there since the 1987 opening. This has also necessitated the spotting of trains such that the rear vestibule of the coach adjacent to the locomotive remains in the tunnel (to keep the loco and its exhaust further from the platform).

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_ ... _treatment
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