T has to confess: The Blue Line's a mess

Power problems have forced the T to run the Blue Line on just a single track between Maverick and Government Center, and that's a bit less than optimal, as in - they've brought in some buses to try to move some passengers. Or as John in Eastie puts it:

It’s a total shit show. Platform is packed and the buses upstairs are full before they even make it to maverick. Of course the tunnel is also a mess so that’s not going to work either.



Free tagging: 



Hopefully this hits the Red-Blue dreamers like a ton of bricks

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No need to spend billions on a Red-Blue connector when the existing Blue Line is a mess. Fix and maximize the existing system and make a "virtual tunnel" between the Red and Blue (can leave Red/Blue, walk the streets, enter Red/Blue again free of charge).


You can take your virtual tunnel

and park it. As a daily Blue Line commuter, it's not good enough to tell me to exit the system, and walk down Washington Street to get to DTX. That's absurd.

The state needs to allocate the funds to connect the Red and Blue, as was agreed to decades ago. This is separate from "state of good repair" maintenance.

By the way, the Blue Line is easily the most reliable in the system, today notwithstanding. In the last year, I've only been delayed getting to work two or three times.


It's Nicer To Walk Between Bowdoin And Charles

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Walking between State and Downtown Crossing, is a bit shorter, but it's much more pleasant to walk down Cambridge Street between Bowdoin and Charles/MGH Stations.

Coming home, you also have the advantage of getting on an empty train at Bowdoin Station.

          ( but yes, the state should build the long-promised Red/Blue connection )


Aside from regular overcrowding, the Blue Line is generally the most reliable line on the T big picture.


Likely will not happen

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The original Blue-Red connector existed as a street-running trolley-pole line with one track that was used for moving Blue Line trains to the Red Line at Charles station so they could be towed to the Red Line repair shops in Cambridge (since relocated). There was never a passenger service between these two. Moves of trains for repair occurred mostly at night. This was because there was no repair facility at Orient Heights at the time. When the Blue got its own repair shop the street running track was closed, ramp to Charles demolished, and the tunnel portal on Cambridge street capped and filled in.

There are good reasons why there is no subway tunnel along that stretch of Cambridge Street.

First, the age fo the buildings along the perimeter are a concern and any disturbance of surrounding soil would likely cause building foundations to crack, tilt, or even collapse. While slurry wall mitigations are a consideration to bolster those foundations the pile drivers to create the wall would themselves cause damaging vibrations that might do as much damage, not to mention a couple of years worth of construction noise above acceptable decibel levels.

Then once you get close to the station you run into the same issues as the Back Bay has; filled land and a high water table. The Boston Ground Water Trust that oversees the ground water needs of the Back Bay would need to run tests to see if ground water is holding up local buildings near Charles station. It is likely that is the case and that may be the deal breaker.

The only workable solution would be a tunnel portal at Bowdoin near where the existing one was, then a gradual incline and surface elevated structure above Cambridge Street. That could then meet the existing Charles station above ground for transfers. Ideally it would be 2 tracks with necessary return switches as found at other MBTA terminus locations so trains can be routed to the correct track. Alternately a single stub-end track may work but at peak service times only every-other train would be able to go there forcing people to change at Bowdoin like they do at Gov't Center to get to Lechmere.

Any Blue-Red connection also needs to address a rebuild of Bowdoin station to lengthen the platforms since the current station does not serve all cars in a train set. A rebuild of Bowdoin has already been depreciated as not happening due to a host of issues with existing foundations, underground utility lines, and more.

While the will of the people may seek this, the ability to actually do this from an engineering perspective, and needless to say cost, may not see this happen. In any event you'd easily be looking at a 4-5 year construction window so local residence and business continue to have access during the process, not to mention input from the fire and ambulance departments and MGH Hospital for access to its emergency department.

While a study may be underway or starting, I fully expect to see the findings as being impossible for these and many additional unforeseen reasons.


I'm Sorry, But That's Simply Not Correct - (Red/Blue Connector)

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Here's the official project map from the MassDOT website:
Note that the extension runs straight down Cambridge Street, not under MGH or any other buildings. The map also shows the existing Blue Line tail tracks, which already tunnel as far as Joy Street.

This detailed project description shows the construction outline at Charles Circle. The staging area is for a tunnel boring machine that will travel under Cambridge Street to reach the existing Blue Line tunnel. It will also bore another short tunnel on the other side of the station for train storage. Note there's a crossover right before the new Blue Line "center-track" platform. So, like at Alewife, passengers simply take whichever train is leaving first.

Please, read the linked report for all the details; the spent a lot of money for it to be completely planned out, but they never followed through with actually building it. Besides being promised as part of the Big Dig mitigation, it makes total sense to complete this very short, missing link in the transit system, especially when it would alleviate the horrible traffic conditions around MGH and Charles Circle, and also reduce some of the congestion on the Red Line.

Perhaps one of the reasons the fails to pursue this project is the fact that it would be completely underground, thus no opportunity to build an "architectural statement" station like they're doing at Scollay/Government Center for the motoring public to admire.


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Perhaps one of the reasons the Ⓣ fails to pursue this project is the fact that it would be completely underground, thus no opportunity to build an "architectural statement" station like they're doing at Scollay/Government Center for the motoring public to admire.

This is just false and you know this Elmer. Stop with this nonsense that you spew about T projects. You hate the T, you hate the way they do projects.. we get it. Stop spreading your false opinions. The rest of your post was on point until the last spewing paragraph. Please stop.

The REAL truth is NIMBYism at its best. Its the same reason it was canned the last time. The people of Beacon Hill DO NOT WANT drilling next to their homes. These people are connected, have power, and have money.. they will force politicians to strong arm the T into not doing it. Why do you think they are all about a walkway now? No drilling and no cut and cover tunnel!

Same reason they have that brick stupidity

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... and not the bike lanes the corridor desperately needs - needs far more than a brick pile as divided highway feature and jaywalking launch platforms. The road is 4 lanes wide but that's not a country lane!

Your Sarcasm Detector Has Always Been As Dependable As The Ⓣ

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Having high expectations for public transit and wanting the to be the best it can, doesn't amount to hate. I wish the would build less elaborate facilities, and instead, maintain them to good standards of cleanliness and service.

I admit to hating the way they organize bustitution, but I certainly don't hate the .

How 'bout doing something useful

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There's an initiative in New York called "Project Subway NYC". A designer who loves transit decided to build a few existing NYC stations in 3D modeling. Along the way, she learned about construction cost and access. It helped flesh out and discard some of the NYC fantasies she once back. You, Transit Matters, and all of the other transit lovers should do the same for Boston. I recommend: South Station, North Station, DTX, Park, State, Gov Ctr, Back Bay. If you want, add in the existing and planned concourses at Park, DTX, and State. It could be a useful learning tool for you and others who love Boston transit


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I'm taking this one for myself. TM can eat my dust

Not to mention the underground-to-elevated hike at MGH-Charles

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The current Red-Blue connector proposal calls for an underground Blue Line platform, requiring a long multi-story hike from underground Blue to elevated Red. This new MGH-Charles would make the Porter Square stairway to heaven look tame in comparison.

I’m Blue

I'm blue da ba dee da ba daa
Da ba dee da ba daa, da ba dee da ba daa, da ba dee da ba daa
Da ba dee da ba daa, da ba dee da ba daa, da ba dee da ba daa
I'm blue da ba dee da ba daa
Da ba dee da ba daa, da ba dee da ba daa, da ba dee da ba daa
Da ba dee da ba daa, da ba dee da ba daa, da ba dee da ba daa