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.