Back Bay Station

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Back Bay Station

Postby pdxstreetcar » Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:59 pm

I was wondering if possibly down the road would the Back Bay Station be extensively rebuilt? Waiting for a train at rush hour there is horrible... they really need a larger and better designed station, 2 outbound platforms is not enough with Amtrak and MBTA sharing them. If I'm in Back Bay and have the time I will get on the train at South Station just because boarding is much easier.

Sure the station is only 15 years old, but its at max capacity and I feel something will have to be done eventually even with limited space for expansion. The platform gets so crowded that they sometimes dont let anyone else down.
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Postby ithjames » Thu Jan 20, 2005 2:25 pm

In addition to that, will there ever be free transfer from the Back Bay Orange Line station to Copley. There has been talk about it and it would be a great idea rather than to go all the way to downtown to transfer from one line to another.
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Postby Cotuit » Thu Jan 20, 2005 2:46 pm

pdxstreetcar wrote:Sure the station is only 15 years old, but its at max capacity and I feel something will have to be done eventually even with limited space for expansion. The platform gets so crowded that they sometimes dont let anyone else down.


The whole thing is disgraceful, especially as a major intercity destination via-Amtrak, it's not the best "Welcome to Boston." A lot could be done cosmetically to the concourse.

Perhaps platforms could be extended as part of the Columbus Centre project. We may see more people entering from the Berkeley end once that is built, better distributing the crowds on the platform.

ithjames wrote:In addition to that, will there ever be free transfer from the Back Bay Orange Line station to Copley. There has been talk about it and it would be a great idea rather than to go all the way to downtown to transfer from one line to another.


I think this would be a good place to create an 'out-of-system transfer' with the Charlie Card.
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Re: Back Bay Station

Postby Dick H » Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:11 pm

Report on the All Aboard Yahoo Group that Back Bay will become an unstaffed station
on or about October 7th due to diesel fumes penetrating the waiting room/ticketing
area. Supposedly, the ventilation system is inoperable and will be a major cost item
to address. Does the MBTA have ticketing staff there?
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Re: Back Bay Station

Postby MBTA3247 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:38 pm

There's usually a CSA by the Orange Line faregates, and there is a staffed Amtrak ticket window (not sure about commuter rail). There are also a number of food vendors in the station.

Working or otherwise, the ventilation system at Back Bay has never been sufficient to deal with all the diesel exhaust, however the exhaust has only rarely, if ever been a problem on the Orange Line platform or up in the main concourse.
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Re: Back Bay Station

Postby TomNelligan » Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:55 pm

I find it hard to believe that Amtrak is removing its ticket agents from Back Bay because of fumes rather than because of cost-cutting. Given all the laws and regulations in place these days regarding workplace health hazards, I would expect that Amtrak would have assorted legal recourse against the MBTA if indeed exhaust fumes caused by a broken fan were the issue and they truly wanted to keep the agents in place.
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Re: Back Bay Station

Postby twropr » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:00 pm

Back Bay has to be one of the most heavily patronized stations on the Amtrak system to become unstaffed.
With Back Bay being right downtown, I'm wondering why most Boston patrons use South Station - wouldn't they need to take a subway or bus back to an area that would be within walking distance of BBY?

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Re: Back Bay Station

Postby rethcir » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:10 pm

I think it's pretty fair to say that "most bostonians" are smart enough to get off at Back Bay if their destination is right around there.
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Re: Back Bay Station

Postby Diverging Route » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:13 pm

From the Amtrak Website:

Boston Back Bay Ticket Office Closes

Effective October 8, 2014

Effective October 8 until further notice, the Boston Back Bay Amtrak ticket office will close, and Amtrak personnel will not be available at the station to assist with ticketing, baggage or other services.

Please note that Amtrak trains will continue to serve the Boston Back Bay station, according to the normal published schedule.

Boston South Station

Passengers who require ticketing services from an agent and passengers who are paying for their tickets with cash should use Boston South Station or other staffed stations.

Passengers who need assistance with luggage or other passenger services should use Boston South Station or other staffed stations.

Unaccompanied minors will not be permitted to travel to or from Boston Back Bay. Unaccompanied minors may, instead, use Boston South Station or other staffed stations.

Boston Back Bay Station

Passengers boarding at Boston Back Bay are encouraged to print their travel documents before arriving at the station, or use their smartphone or other mobile devices to present their eTickets to the conductor on the train.

Two Quik-Trak self-serve ticketing kiosks are available at the Boston Back Bay station for passengers to purchase and pick up their travel documents using a credit card.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patronage. The most up-to-date arrival and departure times are available on Amtrak.com, our free mobile apps and at 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).


A friend with good contacts says he was told it would be for about two years, as "improvements are made."
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Re: Back Bay Station

Postby NH2060 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:44 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:Working or otherwise, the ventilation system at Back Bay has never been sufficient to deal with all the diesel exhaust, however the exhaust has only rarely, if ever been a problem on the Orange Line platform or up in the main concourse.

It can be a big problem on the platform even if you don't have any medical issues that could be exacerbated by the exhaust. I remember once taking Amtrak from BBY and feeling what I guess was my esophagus contracting from said exhaust of a commuter train that had stopped at the station. Even after drinking some water it took a little while for it to settle down, but not before giving me quite a scare. I wouldn't be surprised if others (commuters and employees alike) have also had similar issues.

twropr wrote:With Back Bay being right downtown, I'm wondering why most Boston patrons use South Station - wouldn't they need to take a subway or bus back to an area that would be within walking distance of BBY?

To add to that: Ever used South Station to get on Amtrak? Especially on a Friday evening? It would make you think twice the next time. You have to get in a line -which can stretch around the corner of the station building itself- which can feel as annoying as waiting to get onboard at NYP. At Back Bay you can wait on the platform and not have to wait in line. I've done both; the former only once. You can still find a good/decent seat even if you get on at BBY.

Plus given that a large percentage of people in Boston live in close proximity to BBY it just makes more sense to board/detrain there. And even if you live in the North End the Green or Orange Line is a relatively quick ride. Now one living in Cambridge or Quincy, Braintree, etc. would be more inclined to use BOS with the Red Line stopping there. But, to each his or her own.
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Re: Back Bay Station

Postby Dick H » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:51 pm

Perhaps the MBTA should put the Allston Station on the back burner
and take care of the Back Bay issue first. Of course, political photo
ops of shiny new facilities always seem to trump taking care of major
problems with existing stations.
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Re: Back Bay Station

Postby RRCOMM » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:08 pm

The Diesel exhaust problem is a major concern. I would not like to work in those offices. You should see what the insides of Computer and Communications equipment look like after a short time in that environment. That station and the tunnel should be served by Electric Traction exclusively. The fan system for the tunnel and station really never worked as hoped (that's when they're running). Going west after the platforms on the Amtrak main you can see the other end of the tunnel about 1/2 mile away. One Diesel powered train going west leaves a haze that looks like a yellow photography filter in spite of the fans going full tilt. At rush hour the parade of trains makes it awful! A lot of that fine particulate matter gets in to the station and I would hazard a guess, the lungs of those who work there.
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Re: Back Bay Station

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:21 pm

This is becoming the exact opposite of SEPTA's Center City Tunnel. The CCT was designed for electric service and did not have provisions for diesel ventilation. The Back Bay Tunnel was built for diesel service (in the 1980s before the NEC was wired) and did not have adequate ventilation.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.
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Re: Back Bay Station

Postby ns3010 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:36 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:Working or otherwise, the ventilation system at Back Bay has never been sufficient to deal with all the diesel exhaust, however the exhaust has only rarely, if ever been a problem on the Orange Line platform or up in the main concourse.


Never a problem in the main concourse? The entire station is nauseating. I've never been in BBY when the main concourse wasn't disgusting.
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Re: Back Bay Station

Postby TrainManTy » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:16 pm

ns3010 wrote:
MBTA3247 wrote:Working or otherwise, the ventilation system at Back Bay has never been sufficient to deal with all the diesel exhaust, however the exhaust has only rarely, if ever been a problem on the Orange Line platform or up in the main concourse.


Never a problem in the main concourse? The entire station is nauseating. I've never been in BBY when the main concourse wasn't disgusting.


Agreed. It's not too bad coming up from the Worcester platforms (5 and 7) and going down to the Orange Line, just a slight smell of diesel exhaust which doesn't bother me too much. But the main waiting area above tracks 1,2, and 3 is awful. I can't imagine how people can stand to wait there for a train, much less work in Dunkin' Donuts or Keolis' new customer service booth all day!
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