Monday, September 5, 2011

Ruins of the T: An introduction

I'm now in Boston, which means this blog is getting a bit of a thematic change. I can't work on rockets right now, but I am in a city that has lots of my other geeky obsession: trains.

The MBTA operates a systems of buses, trackless trolleys, light rail and heavy rail subway and surface lines, and mainline commuter rail. Amtrak operates 4 passenger services out of Boston, and CSX hauls freight.

But there's a lot more that doesn't run anymore. The Boston Elevated Railway, Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway, MTA / MBTA, and many smaller systems ran streetcars everywhere in Eastern Masachusetts, of which just four lines* plus a heritage line remain. Countless rail lines (Central Massachusetts Railway and others) and branches (dozens off the existing commuter system alone) have dropped service or been abandoned, leaving stations, bridges, and rights-of-way behind. (To say nothing of old stations on active lines.) There's a huge amount of ruins - everything from staircases leading to platforms that no longer exist, to whole tunnels and stations behind brick walls.

Much of it can be seen. A lot is on the surface, on the streets of Boston and in surrounding towns. A few things can only be seen beneath the surface, like the unused turnaround loop at Government Center. I plan to go out and photograph as much as I can. Much can be seen already on Google Maps Street View.

Here's a map of what I plan to visit and already have. Links to pictures go up as I upload them to Blogger and Commons.


View Random (mostly old) MBTA bits in a larger map

*Green Line B, C, and E branches, plus the Ashmont-Mattapan Line. The Green Line D branch was formerly commuter rail and only became a trolley line in 1959.

1 comment:

@eloh said...

Watch yourself, Boston has some places even I wouldn't go without plenty of backup.