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North Station has changed a bit over the years

North Station at the turn of the 20th century

When the original North Station opened in 1893, it was pretty archy - and replaced four other stations in the area (the original name was North Union Station, because it was the "union" where four separate railroads terminated).

It was torn down in 1928 to make way for the Boston Garden and a new terminal.

Original North Station

Top photo from the BPL. Posted under this Creative Commons license.

Bottom photo from the NYPL.

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Comments

It's not a thing of beauty as 1890's architecture goes but it's so much better than what's there now. Really--is there a sadder train station than North Station?

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I like the old building and wondering why they couldn't leave things alone.
Such a royal mess around there lately.

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in the 1920s

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to not like the celtics and bruins.

the city ruined nice looking architecture for those two teams...

Go Canadiens, Go Lebron.

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to cope with whatever mistakes you made in life that force you to live in a city that you clearly abhor with people you don't understand or get along with and a culture you find so foreign

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a city that you clearly abhor with people you don't understand or get along with

I love Boston. It's a wonderful city with wonderful residents.

You may not know this but the Boston sports fandom comes from the Massachusetts burbs (places I would rather not live) not actual Boston residents.

I am glad I call Boston home and will continue to speak up on quality of life issues that impact our elderly residents and families. Even when those quality of life issues are caused by suburban sports fans.

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i recall going to plenty of games when i lived close enough to fenway to see inside of it from my roof

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one person that lived in fenway for a few years went to games.

where do you live now? not boston. i rest my case.

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You mean the private companies that owned north station and the garden?
Also, the Celtics weren't founded until 1946....

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Which is the same basic idea: Tear down an interesting building and replace it with a series of dark spaces.

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The New Penn Station is rat warren of crap, yes, but you must remember at the time, trains were done, especially the intercity trains that served it.

The company was broke and the land above it was worth more than the rest of the company's real estate put together. The railroad was basically being forced to stay open by the government.

Any businessman would look at the situation and sell everything it could.

This does not mean it isn't a shame that it could not have been saved, especially since it was taken over by the Knicks and Rangers, but steps are being done to rectify the situation with Moynihan Station.

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Was sort of the model for Penn Station. Boston Garden is called that because it was originally called Boston Madison Square Garden. And guess what moved on top of Penn Station?

That said, it didn't replace a palatial masterpiece of architecture. And what's there now is at least slightly nicer than what it used to be for many years.

Having said that, if we ever build the NSRL, we probably don't need North Station at all (build two downtown Commuter Rail stations: one under South Station and one under the vicinity of State/Haymarket

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Having said that, if we ever build the NSRL, we probably don't need North Station at all (build two downtown Commuter Rail stations: one under South Station and one under the vicinity of State/Haymarket

No no no no no no no no no!

Even a 4-track NSRL would likely not have the throughput to support both Amtrak and commuter rail ops, and would be a significant bottleneck impeding any future service expansions. We need BOTH the NSRL AND surface platforms for terminating trains. The ideal future with the NSRL would be a mix of overlapping service patterns - longer lines like Fitchburg would terminate on the surface, with short-turns (e.g. from Littleton, or Concord, or even just 128) running through the NSRL on a higher frequency. It would destroy reliability to through-route all the far reaches of the system. We wouldn't want a rush hour outbound Providence train to be delayed by freight interference to an inbound Fitchburg train, would we?

Also bear in mind the higher frequency of service during rush hour - you really don't have capacity in the NSRL to turn trains without tying things up too much - so trains being taken in and out of service should ideally be doing so at a stub-ended platform on the surface. There is never going to be demand for every train to run through all day (unless you limit the NSRL to high-frequency short-turns, with the occasional longer-distance train, e.g. Amtrak).

I know you mean well, but please don't advocate for crippling the commuter rail system.

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You had multiple stations for both north and west / south approaching railroads into the town.

Union Stations were seen as a way to consolidate train services, albeit into two stations in Boston, to serve the railroads that were consolidating as companies in the area.

There were 3 terminals in what is now the South Station area, roughly one where Stone & Webster, now Fidelity is at 245 Summer Street. This faced towards the channel with the track coming up from what is now Melcher Street. There was another one where the steam plant is now, one smaller one near what is the Welcome To Chinatown building, plus the one in Park Square where the Statler Office Building is now.

With the development of South Station you allowed the area that is now Melcher Street and all of Park Square (The Statler / Park Plaza, 75 Arlington, the Park Square Building, The Salada Tea building) and others to be opened up for development. 4 Stations were not as efficient as 1.

The now North Station had its stations closer together, but don't we all think that having one station there is a better use of real estate for a city hemmed in by water and neighborhoods.

The New Garden was always planned with the main entrance to the station to come in from Causeway Street under the escalators that take you up to the floor level of the arena. The new place opened in 1995 and real estate has taken its time to get it right, just like they got it right with the area around Park Square, which took 20 to 25 years to be developed after the trains pulled out. Give it time, you can't rush it if no one wants to pay for it. You a better station built in terms of architecture, take the risk, get the money, and get going.

Of note, those two Gothic towers in the top photo, one of them is still up near the radar dome in North Truro.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenny_Lind_Tower

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Thanks for the detailed post!

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For filling in the context!

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Don't forget, all the buildings in these views were torn down 90 years ago, in the late 1920s, to make way for the "old" North Station that included the "old" Boston Garden.

The complex in these postcards had become quite outdated and inefficient by the 1920s. It actually consisted of three separate stations that had been amalgamated into each other. The plan of integrating the buildings never quite worked out in terms of operational issues.

The gray stone building at far right in the top view, with the castle-like towers, was the old Fitchburg RR station opened in 1848. One of the towers survives today near the beach in Truro, Cape Cod.

The building at far left in the bottom view, with the mansard roofs on its towers, was the third depot of the Boston & Lowell RR, opened in 1873.

By 1890, the Boston & Maine RR had already acquired the Eastern RR, and the Boston & Lowell RR, and would soon (1900) acquire the Fitchburg RR; and the B&M was being pressured by state officials to consolidate its operations into one station. The building with the large arched entrance, flanked by huge columns and two low-rise wings with arches and clocks, was the result. It replaced the former Eastern RR station building (1862) on the same site. It also replaced an earlier Boston & Maine station (1845) three blocks to the south, in Haymarket Square. This center wing opened Jan. 1, 1894, creating the "North Union Station" complex. The older Fitchburg and Boston & Lowell buildings remained as part of the complex, at either end.

This entire complex was demolished for the North Station that so many of us remember, which opened in 1928. Old photos show that this Art Deco structure was originally far more elegant than it was in its later years, and was truly state-of-the-art for its day. In addition to the railroad station, it also included the Boston Madison Square Garden sports arena -- its original name, since it was owned by a New York corporation which also owned its namesake arena in Manhattan. (They planned on a chain of Madison Square Gardens across the country, but the Great Depression intervened.)

The 1928 North Station/Boston Garden also included the Hotel Manger, later renamed the Madison, at the west end on the site of the Boston & Lowell depot; and it included a headquarters building for the railroad, at the east end on the site of the old Fitchburg depot. You could walk from one building to the others without going outside, which is why the Beatles stayed in that hotel when they performed at Boston Garden.

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I didn't know a bomb exploded there in 1959
http://www.celebrateboston.com/disasters/north-station-explosion.htm

Heres a page of Boston disasters
http://www.celebrateboston.com/disasters.htm

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Walking unhurried from North Station to South Station takes .... minutes.

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A 25 minute walk, while fine for some in good weather, is not the kind of walk appropriate for mass transportation planning.

Because, you know, snow. And rain. And wicked hot. And disabilities, temporary or permanent. And toting kids. And toting stuff. And alone at night.

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path, route, streets... please!

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Canal -> Congress -> Milk -> Federal

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is four degrees, possibly colder on an exposed surface close to the ocean. A 25-minute walk in those conditions, for someone not outfitted with full cold-weather gear (which I don't usually wear to the office), has a high likelihood of causing frostbite on fingers, toes, or face. That walk is lovely in mid-May, but it's not a viable part of a functioning transit infrastructure.

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It's not just about switching stations, but facilitating infrastructure that allows the same trains that come in from the South/West to continue north through NH and Maine.

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It takes something like 15 minutes to turn a train around, meanwhile it's taking up valuable platform space. Then when it does leave there can't be other trains occupying the same tracks and switches, so either those other trains have to wait (or not exist) or the leaving train has to wait even longer (scheduled or not). NSRL would allow trains to pull in/pull out, allowing vastly more trains to run, allowing lines to develop a useful frequency. Frequency means more seats, more reliability, and more convenience.

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from the subway system.

Green or Orange --> Red and vice versa between North Station and South Station would free some "seats."

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What regular shuttles can be seen running between North Station and South Station?... whether private or public or corporate or medical centers or universities/colleges or others or for special events, conventions, and so forth.

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In theory, as long as you are going South to North in the morning and North to South in the evening. Check it out.

Then, of course, there is the Orange Line. Not to South Station, but you can catch 5 of the 9 southside commuter rail lines and all of the Amtrak trains at Back Bay.

I would imagine that the private shuttles would be heading from the terminals to other locations rather than between them.

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