Our decaying infrastructure: Bowdoin on the Blue Line shut

The MBTA has shut Bowdoin on the Blue Line due to what it calls an "infrastructure problem." Tim Lawrence says that is due to "reports of cement falling from ceiling."



Free tagging: 


I call BS

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They're closing it because they want it closed like before. It was reopened nights and weekends during the Government Center renovation. After the renovation was complete the T announced it would be keeping Bowdoin Station open nights and weekends. As a longtime Blue Line rider I knew that would NEVER last.

Thanks Charlie!

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Station closed to serve you better. Chucking Farley strikes again.

More reasons

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The closure of Bowdoin was planned to take place well before the rebiuld of Gov't Center for other reasons.

The first was a demonstrated low-boarding ridership. They could calculate boardings but not exits, at least not easily.

The second reason is/was that the new Blue Line cars at 6-cars did not fit the platform length. When a train runs from GC to Bowdoin a T employee is supposed ot be emptying the last 2 cars and moving people to the forward 4-cars that fit the platform. That way when the doors open no one is in the tunnel. When the train goes around the loop the first 2 cars are beyond the platform with only the last 4-cars available for entry. You are then allowed to use the manual door open button to open the car door where you will be boarding.

Because of the low ridership and platform length problem, there was a plan to close Bowdoin anyway. They still planned to loop the trains there as well as store trains for the start of service the following morning if that was deemed necessary. The stub track that goes under Cambridge street is also still available and powered at last check, if needed.

I often wondered why they would not extend at least one of the platform sides at Bowdoin and allow exit and boarding on the single platform area but apparently for what ever reason, that is not feasible either due to existing utilities in the way or other structural issues.

The long range plan for GC was to create, or better stated, re-create an opening with fare fare gates to the BL platform at the edge of GC plaza. The entrance there was capped when old Scollay Sq station was rebuilt into GC and it remained an air shaft for the next several decades. The emergency exit now at the end of the BL platform (going towards Bowdoin) is that planned exit but remains an Emergency exit at this time. It may be interesting if they turn it into an entrance with fare gates at some point. Its close proximity to Bowdoin would definitely be the herald of the closure of Bowdoin.

As to the falling ceiling... well, sorry, nothing new there. That is happening all over. I'm frankly more concerned about the water at Haymarket Sta on the OL.

The Arrivals Platform At Bowdoin Fully Accommodates 6-Car Trains

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It's just the departures platform that's only long enough for the last four cars. After a train arrives at Bowdoin, the driver or another Ⓣ employee visually checks every car to make sure there are no passengers on the train. They do the same thing at the Wonderland terminus before a train turns around, but I imagine they pay special attention at Bowdoin to make sure no passengers are in the first two cars.

I often wondered why they would not extend at least one of the platform sides at Bowdoin and allow exit and boarding on the single platform

Since the arrivals platform is indeed long enough, they could do that. However, it would mean passengers would be on the train when it goes around the loop. Apparently, in the "unlikely event" a train became disabled in the loop, it would be very difficult to evacuate.

Also, trains go out-of-service on the tail tracks and sleep at Bowdoin overnight or non-rush periods. To park there, some trains must loop around, stop, and then back in to the tail tunnel. When coming back into service, trains just pull straight out and stop at the departure platform. If there was only one platform, trains coming into service would have to back up out of the tunnel into the arrival platform. That might be more difficult and would certainly take more time, halting the flow of other arriving trains, right when you're trying to speed things up.

Bowdoin actually functions quite well with the four-car departure platform. The "Press-to-Open" button is a great solution for operating the doors. It's even used at other stations sometimes when a train is standing by in brutal weather conditions. The driver will close the doors, but announce the train is standing by and if anyone wants to get on or off, press the button to open the door. It's a nice feature!

Bowdoin is still a relatively low ridership station, but it's definitely a lot more popular that it was a few years ago. Indeed, the Blue Line itself carries a lot more passengers, especially with longer trains! When Bowdoin is not open, some of its destined passengers transfer to the Orange Line at State, or the Green Line at Scollay Under; and may also transfer to the Red Line at Downtown Crossing or Park Street Under.

It's not a huge number of passengers, but Bowdoin definitely helps ease some overcrowding elsewhere. It's a useful station! Until construction begins for the short extension to connect the Blue Line with the Red Line at Charles/MGH, of course, Bowdoin should be kept open during all of the 's normal operating hours.

The T is crumbling everywhere

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Unfortunately it's not news that this is the norm on the T. Stairways with rusty metal protrusions at Savin Hill, DTX, and elsewhere, ceilings that leak badly forcing you to walk through the water in the walkway between the Red and Orange lines, open holes in the walls in the same walkway and a steady leak at North Station with a stack of the latest copies of Metro to soak up the water. (The North Station walkway with the wet stacks of Metro is closed now due to construction, but was there for many years.) And that's just the stuff I see every day.

Oh, and old trains and signals that fail every single day.

It's been crumbling since the

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It's been crumbling since the MTA era when all the people from the BERy, which knew what they were doing, retired or were fired and replaced with patronage hires.

Even in the 80s when the Duke was throwing tons of money into the system brand new concrete was already spalling and leaking like a sieve within months of a grand opening. Poor quality design, materials, and construction coupled with inadequate to criminally indifferent maintenance exacerbates the already underlying flawed infrastructure.

Total Lack Of Preventive And Routine Maintenance

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Imagine in your own home if your roof developed a small leak. It's not going away on it's own and will only get worse over time. You might not be ready to invest in an entirely new roof, but you usually can patch small leaks to buy you some time.

However, if you fail to do anything about the leaky roof, your problems will quickly multiply. The water will damage the interior of your home, its furnishings, electrical systems, etc. — damage that could all have been prevented, if you only patched the leaky roof.

Instead of patching, repairing, and correcting minor problems on an ongoing basis, the allows them to fester and grow to the point where they become major, service-affecting disasters. Then, outside consultants and contractors are hired at great expense to completely rebuild something that would have been fine had it only been properly maintained.

Leaky roofs are obvious to most people, but wherever you look there are other examples of total neglect. Even stations that are completely new, fall quickly into disrepair.

    The spent lots of extra money to build these fancy staircases at Wonderland with granite treads and stainless steel handrails with LED lighting underneath. Two years later, and look at it!
    Why? Because the has no full-time craftsmen to attend to such things on an ongoing basis. In other words, there's nobody who cares about maintenance.

A crew of masons should be visiting every station on the , repointing and patching small cracks on a continuous basis. Just one season of freeze-thaw cycles will cause small cracks to get much bigger, so here is one area in particular where preventive maintenance can save lots of money!

Likewise, teams of carpenters, lathers, roofers, plasterers, painters other repair specialists should also visit every station throughout the year.

Unlike privatized outside contractors, full-time craftsmen take ownership of their work — especially when they keep revisiting it. They do a better job out of pride, so they want it to look good!

Spending a little bit of money to maintain the stations on a continuing basis would prevent major damage that becomes much more expensive to repair. In addition, it would make the stations more pleasant for passengers to use!

      ( alas, I don't imagine this would be considered by Stephanie Pollack, Governor Baker, or his "Fiscal Management Control Board" )

      IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)                                    ( Bowdoin Station in better days! )

Your good ole politicians can

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Your good ole politicians can't seem to get their heads out their asses and remove the crippling big dig debt from the T's books. Instead they keep it there so complete failure will be the inevitable conclusion. If they get together and figure out how to spread the remaining debt to all govt agencies then the T will be able to fix what is needed to be fixed. Political Buffoonery!

T-alert says service to

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T-alert says service to Bowdoin will resume Monday Jan 02, preumably after they spend most of Sunday chipping away at the portions of the ceiling's concrete finish that are still in danger of falling.

Just think

this is a station that was closed nights and weekends, pretty much forever. Imagine how bad the rest of our stations are...

**thinks of the moldsicles hanging from the ceiling at Aquarium**

Infrastructure problems?

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Quincy station- garage is falling down, concrete has fallen down on platform
Quincy Adams- the garage looks like an obstacle course because of crumbling concrete
Braintree- The bus way is shut down and the overhead walkway to the garage is ready to collapse.
Downtown Crossing- the walkway to the redline has water pouring down and the staff is running out of buckets
Back Bay- Diesel fumes
Elevator floors collapsing do to urine
Wollaston-Flooding issues.
Escalators at Porter station never work
Trees toppling down on Green Line
The Fairmont line is a disaster and the stations have been destroyed
Bowdoin station was a jewel in the system when compared to the above stations

The commuter boats are doing well


Just the other day I had to stand on the Hingham boat.

All snark aside and this goes against my civic nature, but the boats run well and it is one of the few parts of the T that is privatized.

However in true T fashion whomever decided to mess with the ease of the boat service have spent two years building a $9M ticket office that no one will use because people buy tickets on their phones. Remember that next time you hire Sherpas to guide you up at Porter.


I took the Hull Ferry a few weeks ago and they had the option to buy tickets at the snack bar. (I used my phone, most people had monthly passes.)

Why would they need a ticket booth at all? A fare vending machine would be fine for thoes without phones who want to buy in advance.

Ticket office at Hingham Ferry Terminal

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The new building completion is being timed to coincide with the completion of the Longfellow Bridge. FWIW, the "multi-mode" transit building is going to be housing the harbor masters office as well. they're going to be paying about $20K/year in rent, so that will offset the $4 million cost of the building. Also, it amazes me that there are no schedules posted in public areas. OK, there are but they are well hidden.

Also, the parking lot there no longer takes cash - it's all pay by phone. As the ferry tickets should be. The Hull boats take cash on board, but not the Hingham to Rowes Wharf ferries. Why? Who knows?

There's a lot about the

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There's a lot about the Fairmount Line that can be called "a disaster" (probably a bit extreme) or at least "underachieving" (probably an understatement).

However, with all the station work that has been done (slowly) or is being done (slowly) - I'm a little puzzled at "stations have been destroyed"

Also - the station improvements and service expansion (weekend service) mean the line is (in some respects) somewhat better than it was, say, 13 years ago. I realize that in large part that just says how crummy it was then. It also seems like the line suffers to make up equipment shortages on other lines - rush hour headway is particularly disappointing.


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Anon (not verified) has never been near a Fairmount Line station.

I agree with you. The infrastructure work (stations, bridges, and track) has been great.

Fairmont Line is a disater

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Please don't believe me about the conditions on the Fairmont line but read the Dorchester Reporter and the complaints from community organizations who have filed a federal complaint over the lack of security and poor service. Please visit the Four Corners station which is a mile long and where the glass shelters have been destroyed and glass and trash are everywhere. How about Uphans Corner where the walkway up to the platform has crumbling concrete and wreaks of feces and passengers have to walk up a narrow corridor where you can't see who's waiting to mug you around the bend.. Newmarket station has no passengers but serves as a refuge for the homeless who live under the platform and don't sit on any of the benches or you risk getting stuck with a needle. No one rides because the service sucks and the stations aren't safe and the design of the stations are not user friendly with ramps that are longer than ski jumps and when they freeze just as slippery.


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...for not moving ahead with any future blue/red connector at Charles.

Were there stalactites?

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I remember Shawmut Stations' stalactites. To see stalactites forming in just a few years was intriguing. Perhaps the T could sell tickets to subway stop spelunkers?