West Medford grade crossings history

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

West Medford grade crossings history

Postby Pete » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:45 am

Elsewhere on the Internet, someone posted a question as to why West Medford has two grade crossings as opposed to the grade separated crossings for a long ways north and south of them. My speculation was simply that running over the streets would have required elevating it significantly higher over the Mystic River and beyond, but was there any other consideration anyone knows of?
Pete
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:53 pm
Location: Boston, USA

Re: West Medford grade crossings history

Postby The EGE » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:21 am

Grade crossings in Massachusetts were mostly eliminated on a town-by-town basis according to political whims. I'm not sure about the history in Somerville, but the Winchester grade crossings were eliminated between 1955 and 1957.
User avatar
The EGE
 
Posts: 2489
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:16 pm
Location: Waiting for the N Judah

Re: West Medford grade crossings history

Postby BandA » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:41 am

I think they were generally eliminated when someone paid to eliminate them, or as a quid pro quo such as a merger, bypass, widening...
User avatar
BandA
 
Posts: 2245
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: West Medford grade crossings history

Postby highgreen215 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:47 am

Or maybe a series of severe accidents or deaths.
highgreen215
 
Posts: 422
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:43 pm
Location: Roslindale, Mass.

Re: West Medford grade crossings history

Postby Arborwayfan » Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:41 pm

I thought a lot of the Boston and Lowell, like the B and Providence, was built without grade crossings originally because it was one of the early, English-style railroads. I am remember that right -- don't remember where I read it -- then some of the crossings that don't exist were not eliminated, just avoided to begin with. So maybe there is something about the topography of West Medford that made it difficult to raise or lower the grade enough for bridges?
Arborwayfan
 
Posts: 739
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 11:27 am
Location: Terre Haute, Indiana

Re: West Medford grade crossings history

Postby Aerie » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:07 pm

Arborwayfan wrote:I thought a lot of the Boston and Lowell, like the B and Providence, was built without grade crossings originally because it was one of the early, English-style railroads.


I read somewhere, not sure where, that the Boston & Lowell was built to avoid what were the population centers at the time, so to avoid crossings and expensive real estate, and to be able to follow the Middlesex Canal. So the B&L purposely avoided the centers/downtowns of Medford, Woburn, Wilmington, and Billerica (Winchester was part of Woburn at the time). The railroad expected to carry mostly freight traffic straight from Lowell to Boston, and vice versa, and didn't anticipate the need for local services in between those endpoints, and didn't anticipate that people would want to ride the trains. The business and residential districts that exist along the line now in fact sprang up as a result of the railroad. So I would guess that a lot of grade crossings were added after the railroad had been built as the neighboring communities developed
Aerie
 
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:25 pm

Re: West Medford grade crossings history

Postby Arlington » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:26 pm

Medford's High St is ancient (carried Paul Revere's ride through Medford) and would have had a grade crossing of the B&L from the very start. So although Peter Chardon Brooks encouraged the railroad to come through his farmlands (area now known as Brooks Estates), High St would have been there and needed a crossing.

Canal St (today's other grade crossing, closest to the Mystic) also predates the railroad because it served the original outlet locks of the Middlesex Canal (before the canal was extended through today's Somerville to Charlestown). Boston Ave & Sagamore Ave == the Canal Itself (back then), so Canal St (and Arlington St, opposite it) were the original roads.

Even if the B&L's original intent was to avoid grade crossings, this would have been a hard area to do so, crossing between relatively high hills on both sides of the Mystic.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
Arlington
 
Posts: 3496
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)


Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests