When its Summer Street doors opened to the public on New Year’s Day 1899, South Station was considered one of the largest and most luxurious train stations in the world. At its opening, the terminal boasted 28 tracks for passenger trains as well as passenger amenities that suited the era, including men’s and women’s waiting lounges. For decades, rail travel boomed and South Station boomed right along with it, until the private automobile supplanted the train as the preferred method of travel for many Americans. But as the railroads declined so did South Station’s facilities, which were carved up and partly sold off, eventually leaving a reduced station, fewer amenities, and only 13 tracks.
Over the last several decades, annual ridership for the various modes of transportation at South Station – rail, subway, bus – has soared to 20 million passengers, leaving the station too small to meet daily demands. The waiting areas are often overcrowded, and passengers line up in uncovered areas to board trains. Passengers must contend with an uninviting and difficult-to-find passageway to the adjacent bus terminal and street congestion from taxis and other vehicles on Atlantic Avenue.
Although its original footprint has shrunk, many of South Station’s key features have been preserved. These features serve as inspiration as MassDOT begins to design a bigger, better, and more modern South Station. As a core principle, MassDOT intends to honor the historic architecture of South Station, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, while simultaneously securing the future of the station as an intermodal hub that will serve the expanding transportation needs of the Northeast U.S. for decades to come.
MassDOT has listened to its customers – the daily users of South Station – and is now exploring design concepts for an expanded South Station that include more light; more open space inside the station; better connections to surrounding neighborhoods; better services and facilities for passengers; better use of technology for passenger information; and waiting areas that are safe, comfortable, and easy to find. Over time, South Station will become more than a rail station: it will feature a great civic space, public venues, shopping, restaurants, and other amenities. The design team is looking for feedback about what you would like to see in the expanded station.
Like other landmark railway stations around the world, South Station is now being reinvented. We envision a new kind of landmark, one that serves several modes of travel while also offering a variety of experiences. Stopping by after a walk along the harbor, meeting friends for dinner, or shopping in a new retail arcade – these activities will all be possible at the new South Station.
Governor Patrick: Recommendation to Build MBTA Subway Cars in Massachusetts posted on Oct 21
Governor Deval Patrick today announced that the MBTA will present to the MassDOT Board of Directors the recommended company to manufacture and deliver 284 new subway cars for the Red and Orange Lines, replacing decades-old vehicles. Joined by MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey …Continue Reading Governor Patrick: Recommendation to Build MBTA Subway Cars in Massachusetts
Students Restore Historic Massachusetts Public Works Truck posted on Oct 21
A 1947 Ford dump truck with the proud historic logo “Massachusetts Department of Public Works” is now being restored by students at Bristol/Plymouth Regional Technical School in Taunton. MassDOT Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey visited the school to check on the students’ work and the …Continue Reading Students Restore Historic Massachusetts Public Works Truck
Celtics Forward Jared Sullinger Says: Sign Up for a Celtics Plate! posted on Oct 20
The Registry of Motor Vehicles’ new Boston Haymarket Center received a special visitor today: Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger. “Sully” joined Registrar Celia Blue to greet visitors, meet the staff, and encourage customers to sign up for the Boston Celtics Specialty License Plate. The Celtics …Continue Reading Celtics Forward Jared Sullinger Says: Sign Up for a Celtics Plate!