|MBTA map that shows the |
During the 1970's the MBTA was experiencing a time of growth. They began to examined many of their lines and fund improvement and revitalization projects. The Orange Line Elevated was the first on their list. The MBTA first thought of ways that they could extend the Orange Line. They proposed extending the northern terminus to Route-128 in Reading, then extend southern terminus to Dedham. As a result of this review the MBTA decided they were going to rip down the Charlestown Elevated.
The MBTA built a brand new route for the Charlestown line. The new line ran from A new underground station at North Station through an underwater tunnel under the Charles River. The line then traveled at grade along newly acquired track from the Boston and Maine Railroad right of way under I-93. The line then terminated at the present day terminus of Oak Grove.
|Riding over the Charlestown Bridge|
During the early 1980s, although the Orange line had become the most reliable and most ridden rapid transit line in Boston, it had become the most unsafe line in the system, due to the amount of crime on trains and at stations.
The once beautiful victorian style elevated stations were now in horrible despair and were in need of a major refurbishment or total demolition. Although it was going to come at a huge price tag, around $730 Million, $1,677,050,744 in today's money, the MBTA was going to re-route the entire southern half of the Orange Line and rip down the Washington St. Elevated. In May, 1987 the last revenue trip was performed on the Washington St. Elevated. Thereafter the Orange line, instead of rising to the elevated tracks on Washington St., would veer west to follow the Mass Pike on the acquired right of way from the Boston and Albany Railroad and then travel along a newly constructed right of way all the way to Forest Hills. This became the Orange line that many of us ride today.
|North Station Elevated|
As with many high profile and expensive projects, there was much controversy that came with the closing of the elevated. Although the line terminated basically in the same place, the new route largely bypassed Washington St. The MBTA promised replacement service to local residents who relied on the Elevated to get to work. A green line extension that would run from Washington Street to Dudley Square, then divert southeast on Warren Street towards Dorchester was proposed, but dropped soon after. It took the T until 2002 to implement some sort of service replacement for this area, being phase 1 of the Silver Line.