Saturday, March 3, 2012

100 YEARS AGO - Harvard to Park Street in EIGHT MINUTES

While Boston is about to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park, another major Boston landmark turns 100 this month. On March 23,1912 what we now call the Red Line opened between Harvard Square and Park Street. It cost $11,750,000 to build which would be $276,386,639.68 today.

Slogan used in 1912

 Harvard Square Station in March of 1912
Park Street Under in March of 1912

In 1912 the new subway cut travel time from Harvard Square to Park Street from 25-30 minutes to 8 and a passenger never had to wait more than FOUR minutes for a train from 5:30 AM until Midnight.

Service began with 40 all-steel motor cars built by Standard Steel Car Co.  The cars had an extraordinary length of 69 ft. 2½ in. over buffers and large standees capacity, weighed only 85,900 lb. and featured an all-new door arrangement. There were three single sliding doors per side that were evenly distributed along the car‘s length so that the maximum distance from any location inside the car to a door was around 9 ft. The idea was later taken over by the Brooklyn-Manhattan and Philadelphia‘s elevated line cars. Moreover about 20 ft of the car was separated by a bulkhead and used as a smoking compartment. In contrast to the elevated lines passenger flow was not intended here, so every door was used as entrance and exit as well. These cars would stay in service until 1963. 

The subway was extended later to what is now Downtown Crossing and South Station by 1916, South Boston by 1918 and Dorchester in 1927. The Braintree Line opened in 1971 and the Alewife extension in 1984-5.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How Fenway Park came close to being torn down in the 1960's

In June of 1967 Tom Yawkey was fed up with Massachusetts and Boston politicians. He was upset that a proposed stadium at South Station was not approved.

He gave an interview to Will McDonough and said if no new stadiumwas built, he would move the Red Sox.

Boston Globe - June 21,1967

Luckily for New England that became the summer that saved baseball in Boston and Yawkey was suddenly happy with Fenway.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The proposed MBTA service cutbacks are staggering.

Most of the media coverage in the past couple of weeks has centered on the T raising fares but the service cuts they are proposing are draconian.

They have two proposals out there and neither bodes well for the region.

MBTA Fare and Service Changes - PDF

Option 1

Option 2 

BOTH proposals would end commuter rail at 10 PM with NO SERVICE WEEKENDS.
This will make it next to impossible for people to take the train to sporting events.

BOTH proposals would end weekend service on the E branch of the Green Line and the Red Line shuttle between Ashmont and Mattapan. 

ALL ferry routes eliminated.

A glance at the proposed monthly pass costs will stagger you.
Seniors and disabled people will be hit the hardest.

This is a classic doomsday scenario for the region. The impact on the region would be devastating.

The T will hold the usual round of public meetings knowing that 99.9% of the ridership will not attend. 

This simply can not be allowed to happen.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The MBTA Plays Scrooge - BAH HUMBUG!!!!

Christmas night - riders at Park Street ( and perhaps other stations) were amused by this attempt at holiday cheer.

But this being the 21st Century somebody in T management was not amused.

MBTA worker faces possible discipline
for displaying 'Deck the Halls' on signs

A dispatcher injected a bit of unauthorized whimsy into the LED signs at the Park Street Station. He programmed them to scroll the carol's lyrics.

These signs were supposed to tell us how many minutes before the next train but after more than 2 years they still only tell us a train is arriving ( like we need a sign to tell us that )

Hopefully the T will not discipline this worker.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

John Lincoln Wright - Rest In Peace

John Lincoln Wright (left) and the Sour Mash Boys (with Tom Miller on bass) excelled performing honky tonk music in the area. They thrilled the Topsfield Fair audience in 2002.
Boston Globe Photo

John Lincoln Wright passed away on December 4th and his death has saddened many in the Cambridge-Somerville area which was home but also untold thousands across New England. 

Lincoln had a large and loyal following and from the 70's into the 90's he could fill just about any club he chose to play in from the old 1369 in Inman Square to the Plough and Stars, Johnny D's and even the Middle East. He also preformed all over New England and I recall one night in Portland, Maine where he entertained thousands at  Deering Oaks Park. 

It is no secret that the last twenty years were not good to Lincoln as he simply seemed to give up on life. He would waste away afternoons at the Plough, Whitney's or the CanTab and he just didn't care anymore.

He had two passions in life, music and his beloved Boston Red Sox. He recorded a Red Sox song in the mid 70's that became well known because of the chorus and it was played on stations as diverse as WITS, WHDH, WVBF and WBCN.

In the early 90's Lincoln was invited by the Red Sox to sing the anthem at Fenway Park and I don't think anyone ever saw him so happy. Of course being a perfectionist he thought he had botched it even though everybody assured him he had not.

It is almost forgotten than in the late 60's John was the front-man of a Boston rock band - The Beacon Street Union - that was badly mishandled by out of state record producers. The so called 'Bossound' was eclipsed by San Francisco bands and the very good Boston bands were forgotten.

Beacon Sreet Union with Ken Harrelson on TV

 This television show captures Lincoln perfectly
The man lived to perform.
 RIP Lincoln.