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The "B" Branch, also called the Commonwealth Avenue Branch or Boston College Branch, is a branch of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Green Line in the Boston, Massachusetts area, along which light rail vehicles run on a surface right-of-way down the middle of Commonwealth Avenue. After going underground via the Blandford Street Incline, the tracks merge with the "C" and "D" Branches into Kenmore station. From there the Boylston Street Subway and Tremont Street Subway carry "B" cars to downtown Boston, with regular service turning around at Park Street as of 2016.
The Green Line Rivalry between Boston College and Boston University is named in reference to the "B" Branch, which runs to both universities.
In 1896, tracks were laid on Commonwealth Avenue from Chestnut Hill Avenue west to the Newton town line at Lake Street, and around the same time the Commonwealth Avenue Street Railway opened, extending the tracks through Newton to Norumbega Park; this later became part of the Middlesex and Boston Street Railway. Trains between Lake Street and downtown Boston used tracks on Beacon Street, now part of the "C" Branch. From Kenmore Square they continued east on Beacon Street, then turned south on Massachusetts Avenue and east on Boylston Street to Park Square. In 1900 tracks were installed on the rest of Commonwealth Avenue, from Chestnut Hill Avenue east to existing tracks at Packard's Corner, later part of the "A" Branch. This enabled trains to use Commonwealth Avenue between Lake Street and Kenmore Square. In 1909, the tracks were electrified.
The Tremont Street Subway opened on September 1, 1897, and then or soon after the Commonwealth Avenue line was rerouted to turn around at Park Street via the Boylston Street Incline at the Public Gardens. The Boylston Street Subway opened on October 3, 1914, extending the underground portion to the Kenmore Incline just east of Kenmore Square. On October 23, 1932 the Blandford Street Incline opened along with the underground Kenmore station, giving the line its present configuration.
Until the 1920s, a streetcar line that has since become the 65 bus ran along Commonwealth Avenue from Boston College east to Chestnut Hill Avenue, then south on Chestnut Hill Avenue and east on Beacon Street from Cleveland Circle to Washington Square, turning southeast to Brookline Village. After this was replaced by bus service in the 1920s (along with a rerouting), no revenue service used the tracks on Chestnut Hill Avenue, but they have remained for "B" Branch trains to access the Reservoir Carhouse at Cleveland Circle on the "C" Branch.
From 1942 to 1967, the route was known by the map number of 62. Since then it has been the "B" Branch.
A turnback loop at Boston University Field was present from 1915 to January 14, 1962, and was used for service to special events.
- November 20, 1961: cut back to Park Street
- November 18, 1964: extended Monday-Saturday to Government Center
- January 1967: cut back to Park Street all times due to problems at the Government Center loop
- March 25, 1967: extended to North Station
- June 17, 1967: cut back to Government Center
- September 9, 1967: extended to North Station
- September 14, 1967: cut back to Government Center due to problems at the North Station loop
- March 21, 1970: extended to Haymarket, looped empty at North Station
- December 26, 1970: extended to North Station
- March 25, 1974: extended to Lechmere
- January 1, 1977: cut back to North Station weekdays only
- March 19, 1977: extended to Lechmere all times
- June 18, 1977: cut back to Government Center all times
- September 9, 1977: extended to Lechmere all times
- September 9, 1978: cut back to Government Center nights and Sundays
- March 24, 1979: cut back to Government Center middays and Saturdays, with only rush hour trips continuing to Lechmere
- March 21, 1980: cut back to Park Street all times
- April 4, 1981: extended to North Station (PCC cars looped at Government Center)
- July 30, 1983: cut back to Government Center
- March 22, 2014: cut back to Park Street due to Government Center closure; the branch terminus stayed at Park Street when the station was reopened in 2016.
Four stops were temporarily closed for 6-8 months starting April 20, 2005 as part of a stop elimination pilot program to speed up service. At the end of the test period, they were closed permanently. The discontinued stops were very close to more popular intersections, and almost 73% of the 1142 riders surveyed wanted those four stops gone. The B line service is slower than the C branch because of additional stops, and both are slower then the D branch, which has a dedicated right-of-way.
|Station||Location||Time to Park Street||Opened||Transfers and notes|
|Blandford Street||16 minutes|
|Boston University East||at Granby Street, Boston, the first of three stations serving Boston University|
|Boston University Central||at Marsh Chapel, Boston|
|Boston University West||at Amory Street, Boston|
|St. Paul Street|
|Packard's Corner||Packard's Corner at Brighton Avenue, Allston||26 minutes||the "A" Branch formerly diverged here|
|Harvard Avenue||at Harvard Avenue, Allston|
|Chestnut Hill Avenue||at Chestnut Hill Avenue, Brighton||41 minutes||within easy walking distance of the C branch's Cleveland Circle station, and the D branch's Reservoir station|
|Boston College||at Lake Street, Brighton, serving Boston College||43 minutes||formerly Lake Street|
- ↑ http://www.bahistory.org/Clevcirclehist.html
- ↑ T drops 4 Green Line stops after results of rider survey, The Boston Globe March 16, 2005
- Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district (PDF)
- U.S. Urban Rail Transit Lines Opened From 1980 (PDF)