Today was a perfect day to visit every single stop on the T

Raphael Dumas and some fellow grad students from the MIT Transit Lab spent today on the T - all of it. Starting at Park Street shortly before 10 a.m. (after bicycling over on Hubway bikes from MIT), they proceeded to get on and off every open stop on all four subway lines (and, yes, that included the Mattapan line and all the branches of the Green Line).

Some of his observations:

In Canada, we call fake wood paneling "beaver paneling". Just realized it's a curious choice for the transit interior. Orange Line

North Quincy. Parking lots, parking lots everywhere.

They should have concerts in Maverick.

Tweeting with my feet in the water at Revere Beach.

Paused at Wellington. Wondering why three tracks. #TDay team discussing potential for express trains.

Finally, at 9:52 p.m., he tweeted from Boston College:

We made it! Final terminal of #TDay!

And that concludes #TDay, all open stations on all four rail lines (12 termini) of the #mbta in just under 12 hours.



Free tagging: 



By on a nerdly sort of way.

Actually they do have occasional concerts at Maverick. Zumix puts them on.
(That would be above ground, on the traffic island in the middle not in the station itself.)

And on the Orange Line it seems you are more likely to see cocks not beaver.


They should hold a rave at

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They should hold a rave at Courthouse station on the silver line. That hall is freakin huge and a huge waste of space as it never seems to fill up.

I do believe that station is

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I do believe that station is designed for future demand. If you look at the development plan for that area, I think they'll see it used to it's intended capacity some day.

Courthouse Station plans

They're going to add another pair of headhouses on the opposite end of the station. That should help make it feel less like a humongous waste of space.

These guys are from the MIT "transit lab"...

...and they didn't know about the existence or intended purpose of the extra track at Wellington? Oh come on.

That said, I'm impressed you can do this much on a Saturday schedule. I didn't think it would be possible if you're doing every single Green Line surface stop.

Not so sure about this...

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Unless by get on and off the train they mean that they literally stepped off the green line trolleys and then immediately stepped on the same trolley again, there is no way this is possible. Taking the green line alone (for which there are 65 stops between the B, C, D, and E branches), a train would have to come every 11 minutes in order to accomplish this within the 12 hours they claim it took them (and that wouldn't include the actual transit times between stations).

If we add in the other 55 stops in the system (which is exclusive of the silver line), then the time between subways/trolleys would have to drop to five minutes (again this is exclusive of transit time, which is significant when one considers the "double back" from the terminus stations).

I think we can all agree that even on its best day (and by best-day I mean when all trains are actually functioning and the streets and trains are deserted as a result of the zombie apocalypse), the T isn't running every five minutes.


It's MIT - of course it's a real lab

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Knowing every siding, switch, and tunnel on the T isn't a prerequisite for MIT's MST program.

These are brilliant people, from all over the world, who are dedicated to the field of public transportation.

But that's how one discovers and learns new things. By exploring, right?

Third Track Theme

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The 3rd track was originally intended to be used for express service at certain times of the day but that never materialized. It is now used to run test trains under development.

The Blue Line had a test train running on that track to flush out the software and mechanical bugs before the whole fleet was delivered.

Sounds like a fun day. I'm a

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Sounds like a fun day.

I'm a little curious, though - how many fares did each have to pay? With some of the lines, you can't just cross the platform for an inbound train at the terminal - you exit the system and re-enter.

Also, why bike from MIT to the start point when there's a Red Line station or two along the campus?

More importantly, how did

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More importantly, how did they handle personal sanitation ? The T isn't exactly known for its abundance of necessary rooms.


The story indicated they left

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The story indicated they left the system at points, so they could've used other public restrooms at those times.

It's not the same as doing the continuous, to-the-limits of all lines on the NYC Subway. In that case, those people are staying inside the system for the entire adventure - trains, platforms and station areas on the "paid" side of the turnstile. If the MIT group was doing something like that, yes - they would have access to very few restrooms.


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They had lunch at South Station, which has restrooms. Also, at 12:57, he marveled:

North Quincy has a public rest room #TDay


At rest

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Some stations have public rest rooms.

Now the upkeep is another thing.


I would guess they used day,

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I would guess they used day, week, or month passes for this; if they are transit nerds, there's a good chance they already had monthly passes.

The third track at Wellington

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The third track at Wellington - I believe it's for turning trains around. Trains regularly express to Wellington and then turn around or go out of service during rush hour. It's also where the Orange Line rail yard is.

It's possible that to save time on the Green Line, they rode the B to Boston College, rode back to Chestnut Hill Ave and hoofed it to Cleveland Circle to take the C inbound.

Did they manage to get to the rarely used Bowdoin station? All Mattapan trolley stops? Every Silver Line stop or just the actual "stations"?

as bostonurbex pointed out,

as bostonurbex pointed out, the third track was originally designed for express service on the OL that never happened. It runs from NS and beyond (north), but is never used for a reason that I'm sure somebody (most likely bostonurbex) could explain, but I can't remember.

Third Track

Yes, the intent was to be an express track, but the line was never fully built and it is thus useless in its current state. The intent was to convert the Reading Branch of the Commuter Rail to the Orange Line (and all Haverhill trains would run via the Lowell Line and Wildcat Branch). There would be three tracks from just south of Community College to just north of Oak Grove. However, the plan obviously didn't pan out, and space was needed for a commuter rail track still. Some fun facts: the Medford underpass and Malden Station were designed exclusively for Orange Line use, but were adapted to commuter rail use. Today, what remains of the express track is used for pulling dead train sets off the mainline, staging equipment moves and assembling train sets, and was even used to test the very first pair of the new Blue Line cars. The signal system in its current form cannot support regular usage or express usage of the third track. It would also be pointless and cause more harm than good for such a short express track.

Orange Line

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That's really interesting - I had never heard of that plan. How further north of Oak Grove would the line have gone?

I could see folks in Wakefield or where ever being annoyed if they didn't get a replacement for the commuter rail. Which would probably mean extending the thing up to the last stop before the Lowell line connection. Although in the burbs you usually find plenty of people who would rather have a commuter line instead of regular T lines as the later are viewed as bringing in the "undesirables" more so than the former.

Planned Orange Line Terminus

The planned terminus was to be Reading. The express track would have ended just after Oak Grove.

Wakefield and Melrose didn't want the overhead wires which were required (the Orange Line was to change from 3rd rail to overhead wire at Oak Grove, like the Blue Line does at Airport). That's part of the reason the Orange and Blue Line cars were ordered together, with all the parts and wiring the same. The only difference was that the Orange Line didn't have the roof components put in (specifically, the pantograph) and the Blue Line cars were obviously shorter.

I believe the town of Melrose collectively said something along the lines of "The wires would ruin the character of our historic city!" The wires were required due to the grade crossings, which were to be eliminated one by one as much as possible, but it would take years to get each one, and some were downright near impossible (thus the long term plan to simply have overhead wire).

I believe Reading was all aboard on the idea, however.

Also of note is that while Reading was intended as the terminus, I wouldn't be surprised if -- had the plan worked out -- we'd have extended to an I-93 park-and-ride by now.

3rd track

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Begins at the tunnel portal at Community College and ends at Wellington