Scollay Under station still on for spring re-opening

Scollay Under sign at Government Center MBTA station in downtown Boston

The MBTA has released a batch of photos showing the state of Govermment Center station as it approaches its spring, 2016 re-opening, still on schedule despite having to replace all the glass panes in the above-ground part of the station (if you click on the link, scroll down the page a bit for the photos).

Part of the project includes preserving the Scollay Under tiles found during demolation, back from the days before Scollay Square was torn down to make way for Government Center.

Stairs and escalator take shape:

Escalators and stairs



Free tagging: 


Looking Good!

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Till I saw the pictures of the escalators and stairs. I can't wait till the escalator breaks down water leaks from the glass roof and the stairs turn to ice. Thank you for riding the MBTA.

are you serious? the old

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are you serious? the old station had almost no platform space; the new station has a ton more space.

well, no

Well, the platform was not enlarged, but they've added wider stairs, a second set of stairs and escalator, more stairs to the blue line, and a 'skylight' to the blue line platform in the green line floor so they can get some sunshine too.

So how exactly will there be 'more' platform space?


Those stairs don't seem any longer to me than the old ones, and I can't imagine they would be since they're going down to the same platform.

What grinds my gears is that they're only putting one escalator bank in. Why not both directions?

There are 2 escalators

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Look at the picture again. The other escalator is in the back, or they have a mirror.

Now, the T could just have both escalators go up, like they do at Forest Hills. But then again, Government Center had up and down before.

Good Eye

I stand corrected about the escalators in the new station, looks like you're right. In which case, it looks like a much better ingress/egress situation.

However, unless there was an escalator I missed all these years in the old station, they only had (a very narrow) up. No down.

In the old station, from

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Green Line level to street level had two narrow escalators (one up and one down). However, both escalators were to one side of the stairs, instead of the stairs being in the middle as is common practice now. And at least one of the escalators (usually the down one) seemed to be perpetually broken.

And I'm not convinced that separating the new escalators as they have done is a good idea, given the (still) relatively narrow width of the Green Line eastbound platform.

The New Floor Literally Sparkles!

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I must say, I'm very impressed with the beautiful new terrazzo floor on the Scollay Under platform. While riding through to Bowdoin Station, I've been watching the construction proceed. The floor is a mixed gray terrazzo, with lots of little sparkly bits. Newly polished to a gleaming shine, it's quite beautiful.

I once had terrazzo floors in my house in Florida, and really loved them. Mrs. Fram, who sold me the house, said it's just like cleaning a dish — nothing sticks to it. She was right, they are the easiest floors to keep clean.
     (Of course, whether the will ever clean the new floor, remains to be seen.)

Scollay Station

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It doesn't need Square, it doesn't need Center, and Government is useless in describing the location.
Plain and simple   Scollay   would restore a unique Boston identity to the station.


Plus, yet another local name for out-of-towners to mispronounce!

$82 Million for a facelift and an elevator.

$4.5 million for a bus stop at the Hingham Ferry. Charlie jumping up and down like some tinpot third world despot congratulating the guys who turned off the the power to the runaway train. You wonder why you are stuck at Oak Grove this February? The money went to light a subway portal.

We will have a nice renovated downtown coliving space when this is done but be rolling into the garage with a 84 Skylark with 300k miles and bald tires.

Fix the damn signals first, replace the aging fleet, and GC could have been cleaned up with a days worth of power washing.

Agree and Disagree

I don't see why they can't improve existing facilities AND keep up maintenance at the same time. It's a big organization. It's not like Disney claims a Epcot center ride is broken because they are installing a new attraction and can't work on two things at once.

As for the money, I'd like to see what a private sector comparison is. Disney is actually a good example of a large company which undertakes complex construction projects. If the MBTA is paying 2-10x for the same sort of work, something is wrong.

Many politicians come to office claiming to fix waste which generally means rejecting projects outright. No one every says they have a way to keep all future projects on the books without sacrificing quality yet can save a temendous amount of money.

Power washing can't fix a

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Power washing can't fix a lack of elevators, outdated communications/signal equipment, no HVAC, asbestos, lead paint, low platform floors, small platforms with structural obstructions, narrow staircases, cramped fare collection areas, etc. The old station badly needed this gut renovation to be functional, accessible, and safe for continued use.

'' We will have a nice

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'' We will have a nice renovated downtown coliving space when this is done but be rolling into the garage with a 84 Skylark with 300k miles and bald tires.
Fix the damn signals first, replace the aging fleet, and GC could have been cleaned up with a days worth of power washing.''

The people just dont get it. With the exception of the Hingham Shipyard , which having been super valuable at one time ( ) , and which I consider the improvement a delayed dividend to it for a job well done , but that's just me , dont expect anyone else to feel the groove , there is no rational direction that the T is going into. There is nothing but unreasonable expectations of other peoples money. Blame the Big Dig , blame the Unions, blame the Republicans , blame , blame , blame .


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For frangible, do you mean fungible?

Which is part of the underlying problem

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with the MBTA.

Granted, I recognize that it will be impractical to totally do away with the Federal grant program. And I also acknowledge that we shouldn't just give the MBTA a blank checkbook.

However, there are some changes we could effect to the current system to make it more efficient and practical. For example, instead of giving special grants for bag searches and installing (even more) security cameras, consider issuing a blanket grant for "security" and - with proper oversight - let the MBTA decide how best to divvy up the money, as long it goes to security related programs and services.

Likewise, with funding of capital improvements, instead of a grant or matching funds to improve one particular station, how about a blanket grant for "accessibility improvements" that could cover multiple stations. With proper administration and oversight, this would encourage the MBTA to focus on accessibility at multiple stations, instead of doing wasteful overhauls (like new GC headhouse) at individual stations under the guise of "improved accessibility>".

The fact that the current "review board" is not looking at issues like these is just further proof they have no real interest in reforming the MBTA.

Well, both the Blue and Green

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Well, both the Blue and Green has relatively new rolling stock, with the rest of the Green (kinki sets) being gut refurb'd. The Orange and Red already have brand new rolling stocking ordered, fully replacing the Orange and even expanding it. So they have already done that part. As for the signals - I believe there is quite a bit of left over money from the Orange/Red purchase going towards signal upgrades/etc. Plus Government Station is being funded from the Feds for ADA improvements - you can't really just transfer this money to something else.

New Green Line trains

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are intended for the GLX, and not to increase overall capacity on the system. If GLX is severely scaled back, chances are the order for new trains will be reduced or cancelled.

A little bit more than just a Face Life

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The Government Center Station was not in compliance with ADA regulations. While allowed to remain open, the MBTA was required to update access or deal with fines and a loss of funding from the State.

But did they straighten out

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But did they straighten out the tracks so the trains can actually move more than 4 mph through there deafening anyone who dared enter the station?

Probably not

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I doubt they could straighten out the tracks without shutting down that part of the Green Line for at least some weekends.

No Tracks Relaid

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But they will be updating the train wheelsets to make the curves quieter.

Just be sure not to stand within 50 feet of the yellow line while waiting for your train.

It's a joke

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but most real railroads (ie not subways) don't rely on the flanges to stay on the track, they use a slight conical taper on wheels and a slight bulge in the rail to stay on track. Only works on sufficiently wide turns tough, and the flanges are for the really tight ones.

In the Paris Metro the wheels

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In the Paris Metro the wheels are made of a hard composite plastic which does not squeal against the rails. Works fine and I don't think we need to reinvent the wheel.


But the wheels provide the electric ground and complete the circuit from the catenary wire, thus allowing the train to move. There needs to be some metal on metal contact or a double catenary wire like the trackless busses. Non-metal wheels wouldn't work in the MBTA system without major track changes.

More infrastructure

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You still need guide wheels to keep the trains straight, the rubber tires support most of the weight. So there's more infrastructure to build. There are advantages and disadvantages to rubber tire metros, but they are certainly used in a minority of subway systems.

And then you have rubber wheels in the snow. That would be fun on the B Line in winter, wouldn't it?


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I wonder if the ventilation will be improved in the renovated station? The old Government Center was stiflingly hot in the summer. Magnified glaring sunlight pouring through that new giant glass structure doesn't bode well.

After a few months, the

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After a few months, the pigeon shit covering the glass ceiling will provide all the natural shade you need.


It looks like the holes in the back of the stairs would allow water, slush, muck, etc from people walking down the stairs to fall on people walking under the stairs. Are the backs of the stairs glass or are they as open as they appear?


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Can we seriously make a betting pool or bingo card for new Gov't Center station?

1) Temperature regulation SNAFU: greenhouse summer/ice cube winter versions.
2) Lack of glass cleaning/repair, with special winter edition deadly snowdrifts from the top of the structure.
3) Slush or mud raining on those under the stairs
4) In the brand new state of the art centerpiece station, rusted trolleys still squeal through at max volume making the glass box a deafening echo chamber all the way up
5) Somehow they reduced platform space when everything's completed


Open-riser stairs are not

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Open-riser stairs are not allowed by the ADA, since an unsteady foot could go through, causing injury. So either they have transparent risers -- unlikely as that would be a piss-poor place to put glass, and plexiglass/plastic would get hopelessly dirty/scratched/scuffed as to look ridiculous in short order -- or what you're looking at is incomplete work.

Another reason

Open riser stairs allow fire to spread. I worked in an office building in the early 1990s where they had to enclose the stair wells and retrofit the stairs for this reason.

"Scollay Under"

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This name strikes me as pretentiously wanna-be-britishy. Just me?

Wonder why

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Well, uh, are you familiar with the general history of the City of Boston?