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.
MBTA: Weekend Service on 3 Commuter Rail Lines Begins December 27 posted on Dec 19
The restoration of weekend Commuter Rail service on three lines will begin next Saturday, December 27. The Kingston/Plymouth and Greenbush lines will see the return of Saturday and Sunday service and the Needham Line will resume Saturday service after a two year absence. “MassDOT is …Continue Reading MBTA: Weekend Service on 3 Commuter Rail Lines Begins December 27
Fairhaven Bike Train Program Recognized posted on Dec 18
The Town of Fairhaven was recognized alongside the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program by Cape Cod’s NPR station, WCAI, for their bike train program. A bike train is a fun way for elementary and middle school students to get to school while being …Continue Reading Fairhaven Bike Train Program Recognized
South Station Expansion: DEIR Comment Period Through December 24 posted on Dec 17
Posted by: Matthew Ciborowski, South Station Project Manager, MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning I was pleased to meet with more than 60 people who participated in an Open House and Hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the South Station Expansion project on …Continue Reading South Station Expansion: DEIR Comment Period Through December 24