Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Red Line (MBTA)
The Red Line is the newest of the four MBTA subway lines in the Boston, Massachusetts metro area. It has its northwestern terminus at the Alewife station near Fresh Pond Parkway and Route 2 in West Cambridge, meets the Green Line at Park Street and the Orange Line at Downtown Crossing, and splits into two branches south of South Boston. One branch terminates at Braintree, and the other at Ashmont in Dorchester with a trolley extension to Mattapan.
The Red Line was originally known as the Cambridge-Dorchester Tunnel. The segment from Harvard to Park Street Under opened first, on March 23, 1912, followed quickly with extensions southward to Washington Street and South Station by late 1916. Service was extended to South Boston in 1917 and 1918. Completion of the Dorchester Branch did not resume until the late 1920s, with Ashmont Station opening September 1, 1928. The Braintree branch opened exactly 43 years later, in 1971, over the former right of way of the Old Colony Railroad , and was finally extended to its current terminus in Braintree on March 22, 1980.
The Northwest Extension opened as far as Davis Square on December 8, 1984, and to Alewife Station on March 30, 1985. Platforms on older stations were lengthened later in the 1980s to allow six car trains. During the expansion, the MBTA invested in an Arts on the line public art program. Some of the works are listed in the station stop articles.
- Alewife (Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge)
- Davis (Davis Square, Somerville)
- Porter (Porter Square, Cambridge)
- Harvard (Harvard Square, Cambridge)
- Central (Central Square, Cambridge)
- Kendall/MIT (Kendall Square, Cambridge; originally Kendall)
- Charles/MGH (Cambridge and Charles Streets, Boston; originally Charles)
- Park Street (Park, Tremont, and Winter Streets, Boston; originally Park Street Under)
- Downtown Crossing (Summer, Washington, and Winter Streets, Boston; originally Washington)
- South Station (Dewey Square , Boston)
- Broadway (Broadway and Dorchester Avenue, South Boston)
- Andrew (Andrew Square , South Boston)
- JFK/UMass (Columbia Road and Morrissey Boulevard, Dorchester; originally Columbia)
Just prior to the JFK/UMass station, the red line separates into two branches which operate on separate platforms at JFK/UMass. Just south of the station, the two branches divide as described below.
Diverging from JFK/UMass Station:
- Savin Hill (Savin Hill Avenue and Sidney Street)
- Fields Corner (Charles Street and Dorchester Avenue)
- Shawmut (Dayton Street)
- Ashmont (Ashmont Street and Dorchester Avenue)
- Continuing service to Mattapan via the Ashmont-Mattapan High Speed Line
Diverging from JFK/UMass Station:
- North Quincy (East Squantum and Hancock Streets, Quincy)
- Wollaston (Newport Avenue and Beale Street, Quincy)
- Quincy Center (Hancock and Washington Streets, Quincy)
- Quincy Adams (Burgin Parkway and Centre Street, Quincy)
- Braintree (Ivory and Union Streets, Braintree)
Most, but not all, Red Line stations are wheelchair accessible. See MBTA accessibility.
- Three series of older aluminum-bodied cars built by Pullman-Standard and United Technologies. The older two series of this batch, the 01500 and 01600 series, were built by Pullman in 1969-1970. The 1700 series was built by UTDC in 1988. These cars seat 62 to 64 customers and approximately 132 cars are in active service. All cars in these series are painted white with red trim and use manually-operated exterior signs.
- All three groups of these older cars (units 1500 through 1757) use traditional DC traction motors with electromechanical controls manufactured by Westinghouse and can inter-operate among the three series. The 1500 and 1700 series cars could operate as singletons, but in practice, are always operated as mated pairs. The 1600 series could only operate as mated pairs.
- One series of newer stainless steel-bodied cars built built by Bombardier from components manufactured in Canada and assembled in Barre, Vermont. These cars seat 50 passengers and 86 cars are in active service. An automatic voice synthesis system provides station announcements; the announcements are also displayed on LED signs in each car. Train operation is automated. These cars are stainless steel with red trim and use yellow LCD exterior signs.
- Known as the 1800 series, they were built in 1993-1994. These newer cars (units 1800 through 1885) use modern AC traction motors with solid state controls manufactured by General Electric, can only operate as mated pairs, and can not interoperate with the older three series of cars.
Rolling stock is stored and maintained at a yard near the Broadway station in South Boston. An old, unused double-portal from the yard is immediately adjacent to the Broadway station across Broadway and is still visible from the Broadway bridge.
Culture and trivia
- In 1944, Tom Lehrer wrote a song called Boston, (a parody of the song Mother) whose lyrics list stops on the Red Line beginning with "H" is for my alma mater, Hahvid..., and ending with Put them all together, they spell...HCKC...PW...Which is just about what Boston means to me!
- The tunnels of the Red Line have a cameo in the H. P. Lovecraft story At the Mountains of Madness, in which a character rattles off the stops from South Station to Harvard to calm himself as a nameless horror chases him through a cave in Antarctica.
- At the Harvard station (and no-where else on the main branch of the Red Line), the electronic announcer on the newer (Bombardier-built) trains makes a special announcement: "No smoking, please!"
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