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The Blue Line is one of the four subway lines of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. It extends from Wonderland Station in Revere in the north to Bowdoin Street near Beacon Hill in Boston in the south. It meets the Green Line at Government Center and the Orange Line at State Street. It also provides mass-transit service to Logan International Airport. The line is designated "Blue" because for much of its length it uses the old Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn Railroad right-of-way along the seacoast in Revere and East Boston, and the tunnel to East Boston runs under the Atlantic Ocean. Boston's Blue Line was the first subway in the world to run underneath a section of the ocean.
Blue Line cars are unique among rapid transit vehicles in Boston in that they use both third rail and overhead pantograph current pickup. The line switches between the two at the Logan Airport station where it transitions between running in a tunnel and running above ground. (The Silver Line waterfront switches between overhead and diesel power.) The overhead pantograph was implemented to avoid the third rail icing that frequently occurs in winter.
These cars are also shorter than otherwise similar ones running on the Orange Line, as the Blue Line (known as the East Boston Tunnel before the MBTA was formed) was initially designed to carry streetcars. The subway portion of the line was retrofitted with raised station platforms and rapid transit cars in the 1920s, with the surface portion between East Boston and Revere (known pre-MBTA as the Revere Extension) added in the 1950s.
As of 2005, there is currently a proposal to extend the Blue Line northward to Lynn, Massachusetts; the land to extend the line was purchased during initial construction, but due to budgetary constraints, Wonderland was designated the northern terminus. The northward extension project would either run on the ex-Boston and Maine Railroad Eastern Route Main Line or the ERML in combination with narrow gauge.
In addition, the MBTA has committed to designing an extension of the line's southern end west to Charles/MGH, where it would connect with the Red Line. This was one of the mitigation measures the Commonwealth of Massachusetts agreed to as part of the Big Dig, originating from planning of the Boston Transportation Planning Review.
The Blue Line Modernization Program begun in the late 1990s includes renovating stations to increase the length of trains from four to six cars, make all stations wheelchair accessible, and improve cosmetic appearance. Bowdoin Station is likely to be closed due to the difficulty of accommodating 6-car trains inside the wedge-shaped track, unless the extension to Charles Street is constructed. (Bowdoin is the western terminus, where inbound trains follow a tight loop to the outbound side.)
|Station||Time to Government Center||Opened||Transfers and notes|
|Wonderland||21 minutes||January 19, 1954||former BRB&L station (as Bath House)|
|Revere Beach||19 minutes||January 19, 1954||former BRB&L station (as Crescent Beach)|
|Beachmont||17 minutes||January 19, 1954||former BRB&L station|
|Suffolk Downs||15 minutes||April 21, 1952||former BRB&L station (as Belle Isle)|
|Orient Heights||13 minutes||January 5, 1952||former BRB&L station|
|Wood Island||11 minutes||January 5, 1952||Formerly Day Square, renamed Wood Island Park October 21, 1954, renamed Wood Island 1967|
|Airport||9 minutes||June 3, 2004||Old station opened January 5, 1952 and closed June 2, 2004|
|Maverick||7 minutes||April 18, 1924||Streetcar portal opened December 30, 1904|
|Aquarium||4 minutes||April 5, 1906||Formerly Atlantic, renamed February 13, 1967|
Had a transfer to the Atlantic Avenue Elevated
|State||2 minutes||December 30, 1904||Orange Line|
Formerly Devonshire, renamed January 25, 1967
|Government Center||0 minutes||March 18, 1916||Green Line|
Formerly Scollay Square Under, renamed October 28, 1963
Court Street opened December 30, 1904 and closed March 17, 1916
Closed March 22, 2014 - March 21, 2016 for reconstruction
|Bowdoin||2 minutes||March 18, 1916|
From approximately 1998-2011, the MBTA made most Blue Line stations fully accessible as part of a larger effort to accommodate 6-car trains on the line. As of 2016, the only station in service on the Blue Line which is not fully accessible is Bowdoin.
See MBTA accessibility.
Like the MBTA Orange Line and Red Line, the Blue Line is standard gauge heavy rail. The Green Line uses Light Rail (Streetcar) which can run in mixed traffic in city streets. Its current fleet is the 0700 series, with stainless steel bodies from Siemens, with each car 48 feet (15 m) long and 9 feet 3 inches (2.82 m) wide, with two pairs of doors per side. The cars are of a similar design to those built for the Tren Urbano system in San Juan, Puerto Rico, also designed by Siemens. Originally scheduled to be delivered beginning in January, 2004, the development of the trains had been beset with problems, and the delivery was pushed back numerous times. The cars were eventually delivered beginning in January, 2007. The contract price of the cars is $174 million, with a total cost to the MBTA (including engineering and other related services) of $200 million.
Previously, all of the fleet consisted of the 0600 series, built 1978-1980 by Hawker Siddeley Canada Car and Foundry (now Bombardier Transportation) of Fort William, Ontario, Canada. They are 48.5 feet (14.8 meters) long and 111 inches (2.8 meters) wide, with two pairs of doors on each side. They are based on the PA3 model used by PATH in New Jersey. There are originally 70 Hawker cars, numbered 0600-0669.
By 2011, most of the 600-series cars were retired because of severe corrosion, mainly caused by the salty air that results from much of the line being very close to the ocean. Several 600-series cars were retained MBTA property but no longer usable. Parts of scrapped cars are used to maintain Orange Line 1200 series rolling stock, which were built at the same time by Hawker Siddeley and used many of the same components.
Around 2009, the Seashore Trolley Museum received retired Hawker set 622-623 for their collection.
The 1998 romantic comedy Next Stop Wonderland features some scenes from the Blue Line.
- MBTA - Blue Line (official site)
- Blue Line at world.nycsubway.org
- Blue Line car specifications from Siemens
- History of Revere, including the Narrow Gauge predecessor of the Blue Line
- Blue Line Video actual video from a station and using the line