Silver Line's Impact on South Station Under

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Silver Line's Impact on South Station Under

Postby ThinkBoston » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:21 pm

I'm wanting to know if when the Silver Line station in Dewey Square was constructed over the Red Line station if the mezzanine area over the Red line station was halved into two parts. Or were the head areas for South Station Under already separated, with one half on each side of Atlantic Ave.? And, if the latter, were either of those areas altered as the result of the Silver Line station being put in?

I'm presuming that there was not sufficient room between the Red Line and the surface street to have a bus way and then mezzanine on top of it. I believe street level is roughly 30' above the Red Line.
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Re: Silver Line's Impact on South Station Under

Postby Disney Guy » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:10 pm

I believe that a mezzanine "South Station Upper" ran the full length of South Station Under and was partitioned off, for example one part over the first outbound train car (4 car trains back then), another part over the second and third train cars, etc. The paid area in the mezzanine was in the middle and in one piece, allowing free transfer between inbound and outbound. Some stairs to the street in years gone by must have been exit only as some exits way back then had exit turnstiles at (Under) platform level.

Obviously the Silver Line cut the mezzanine in half. But still, no matter where an entrance was placed, it would be possible to go directly to both inbound and outbound Red Line trains. Some entrances could access outbound Silver Line buses directly. From other entrances, once inside, it would be necessary to go down to the Red line platform, walk under the Silver Line, and come up to the outbound Silver Line platform.
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Re: Silver Line's Impact on South Station Under

Postby ThinkBoston » Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:21 pm

Thanks, DisneyGuy. I was suspecting something like that, but wanted to get some solid knowledge on it. I'm not in Boston, and don't think I've even been in South Station, under or over. I'm researching the choices made by the architects of the central artery replacement. At the same time I'm doing an alternative design scenario that is way different than what the DOT chose.
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Re: Silver Line's Impact on South Station Under

Postby MBTA3247 » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:07 am

I don't remember what the original mezzanine was like, but nowadays South Station Under has three levels: mezzanine (with the faregates), Silver Line, and Red Line. The Silver and Red Lines are roughly at right angles to each other, with the fare-controlled part of the mezzanine directly above where they cross, with stairs and escalators connecting all the platforms and the mezzanine together. There's also some exit-only stairwells from the outbound end of the Red Line platforms that go direct to the non-controlled part of the mezzanine.
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Re: Silver Line's Impact on South Station Under

Postby Disney Guy » Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:59 am

I can vaguely recall from the 1960's a quite high ceilinged mezzanine paid area over the middle part of the Red Line South Station tracks that was nowhere near as long as the platforms. Somehow I don't recall turnstiles in that area back in the early 1960's, but turnstiles were there by the late 1960's or early 1970's which divided it into paid and unpaid areas. So either there was already enough headroom for three layers as mentioned above, or perhaps the street and ground outside was raised a few feet to get the necessary headroom for three layers. I never explored where the exit-only stairs at the outbound end of South Station Under went. Perhaps those stairs went directly to the street, perhaps to "another, unpaid, portion of the original mezzanine".

Given a rumor from the first part of the 20'th century that a light rail line might have been planned from Park St. above and following the Red Line to South Station, I am led to believe that water mains and other utilities did not occupy any part of the South Station mezzanine or any part of the Red Line excavation all the way to Downtown Crossing. But no doubt, utility relocation was needed for the Silver Line tunnel. The operation of such a light rail line would have been difficult at best; it would have crossed the pre-existing Orange Line at grade.
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Re: Silver Line's Impact on South Station Under

Postby Gerry6309 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:09 am

The main entrance was across Atlantic Av. on the south side of Summer, leading to a passageway to the smaller one in front of the RR building. There was no direct access as today. If you went down the stairs in front of the terminal, you encountered a short flight up and then down, perhaps to clear a water or gas main. The corridor connecting the two entrances opened into a stairway down to the fare control, which was protected by a wrought iron fence along the highest section. The room had a very high ceiling, and was surrounded by the stairways on three sides. The northerly stairs led to the existing entrance near the Federal Reserve Bank. The controlled area was on the westerly end, with the stair down to Harvard bound trains in the location where that from the Silver Line platform is now. The Ashmont bound stairs went straight down below the entry stairs. There was at least one long cleat-type escalator from the Ashmont platform to the street. It led to the same kiosk as the main entrance. There may have been a short, modern escalator on the Harvard side to the fare lobby.

South Station was the second deepest on the system at the time, surpassed only by Atlantic (Aquarium).

When there was an El Station above there was no transfer passageway. Paper transfers were issued.
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Re: Silver Line's Impact on South Station Under

Postby FP10 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:16 pm

"even a money tree would draw opposition in Boston "
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