Transportation Nightmare and Chaos As Orange Line Prepares to Close

By Josh Resnek

Streetcar platforms next to the inbound platform (not visible, at left) at Everett in 1931.

Public transportation in Boston is undergoing an earthquake with the coming closure of the Orange Line, with problems and closure of the Green Line, and with the future of public transportation in this area a giant question mark.

Recent collisions and derailments, an inability to keep equipment in safe and running shape, an aging infrastructure and equipment that is 30 years old for the most part, has led to an all
around questioning of Boston’s subway system and its corollaries that run to stations outside of the city.

All of this calls into serious question the transportation needs of Everett being met by an incompetent T.

Talk of a possible soccer stadium across from the casino and the development of that 50 acre site as well as the need for added rapid transit if the 95 acre former Exxon site is developed, are put in jeopardy by the T’s rocky road it is now experiencing.

MBTA Orange Line train in Everett station shortly before abandonment taken on the last day of operation.
Ronald Karr photo 1975

Oddly enough, Everett once had an Orange Line station just north of the Mystic River crossing.

Everett Station was built in 1919 and was opened in an isolated industrial area on March 15, 1919.

The Everett Station was to have existed until such time as the Malden extension was built.

But Malden opposed it.

Everett remained the terminus.

Although Everett thus became a semi-permanent station, it was never rebuilt from its “clapboard house” configuration, and began to look increasingly shabby as the years went by, acquiring a reputation to that effect among riders of the Elevated, according to excerpts from a book titled, “When Boston Rode the El” published in 2000.

On March 30, 1963, the remaining trackless trolley lines feeding into Everett were replaced with diesel buses. This allowed the somewhat isolated station to be closed on nights and Sundays to improve passenger security and comfort,
during which times the buses were simply extended to Sullivan Square, according to excerpts from a Boston Street Railway Association thesis titled, “Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA.”

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, plans to reroute the Orange Line were implemented, culminating in the building of the Haymarket North Extension. The Haymarket North Extension rerouted the Orange Line into a new tunnel under the Charles River and from there followed the Haverhill Line north through Malden, somewhat to the west of the Charlestown Elevated’s then-existing and previously-planned route.

The Charlestown Elevated was closed on April 4, 1975, and the first section of the Haymarket North Extension was opened three days later.[1]

Since then, all transit service to the city of Everett has consisted of buses terminating at Sullivan Square,Wellington,Malden Center, or Wood Island stations, according to the MBTA.

The coming closure of the Orange Line for several months reveals the T’s inability to maintain itself in a safe and orderly manner.

It will effect thousands of Everett commuters who work in Boston.

It will also have a chilling effect on the possibility of the future including a T extension into

Without a T extension, it is impossible to imagine a soccer stadium and a development of the former Exxon site with millions of square feet of rentable space for living and working.

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