Its facilities include:
- Terminus for MBTA Commuter Rail northern routes
- Station on the Boston subway's Orange Line and Green Line
- Southern terminus of Amtrak's Downeaster Maine train service
- Local bus service
- Water taxi service at nearby Lovejoy Wharf
- Staffed ticket windows
- Small food court and waiting area
- direct access to adjacent TD Garden for sporting and other events
- Parking garage (privately operated)
In November, 2005, the MBTA completed construction of its North Station Superstation which placed the Green Line underground, offering inbound cross-platform transfers from Green to Orange Lines. Outbound Green Line trains arrive on the mezzanine level, still within fare control. The project was done primarily to improve transfer between the two lines but also to tear down the old elevated North Station Green Line stop.
In April, 2006, the MBTA announced plans to enlarge the cramped waiting area at the station by building over the south end of the tracks and platforms. The expansion was substantially completed by the end of January, 2007 and was paid for by Delaware North Companies, owners of the TD Garden, who struck a deal for sharing revenue from concessions and advertising with the MBTA.
Several MBTA commuter rail lines, plus Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service to New York City, Washington, D.C. and beyond, originate from South Station, about 1-1/4 miles around the Boston peninsula from North Station. No direct link exists between the two stations although MBTA subway connections are available. Transfers to Amtrak and the MBTA Commuter Rail's Providence/Stoughton, Needham, Franklin, and Framingham/Worcester Lines may also be made at Back Bay, a one seat ride on the Orange Line from North Station. A North-South Rail Link is proposed to link North and South Stations, but as of May 2006 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has withdrawn its sponsorship of the proposal due to its high cost.
Of the eleven Amtrak stations in Massachusetts, North Station was the third busiest in FY2010, behind only South Station and Back Bay Station, boarding or detraining an average of approximately 1,150 passengers daily. It is one of the twenty-five busiest stations in the Amtrak system.
Before North Union Station opened on the spot in 1893, there were four separate stations in the area:
- The Boston and Maine Railroad terminal was just north of Haymarket Square, between Canal Street and Haverhill Street, stretching most of the way to Traverse Street. This approach was later used by the Green Line and Orange Line. The other three were all on the north side of Causeway Street, with the first two in the area where North Station is now:
- The Boston and Lowell Railroad terminal was on the east side of Nashua Street, stretching east for about a block.
- Next was the Eastern Railroad terminal, across Causeway Street from Friend Street.
- The Fitchburg Railroad station was on the other side of the Boston and Maine Railroad approach, right next to Beverly Street, the approach to the Warren Bridge.
Just south of North Station was the Canal Street Incline through which the Green Line and Orange Line originally went from elevated to subway. The original North Central Station was demolished in 1928 to make way for the Boston Garden, which included a new North Station as part of the design. This was replaced by the FleetCenter, now the TD Garden, which also necessitated a redesigned North Station. The waiting area was very limited, but this was rectified by a recent expansion which greatly enlarged it. The redesigned station was built for 12 tracks, but only 10 are in service.
This timeline shows which Green Line services terminated at North Station at which times (after 1940).
- Boston's TD Garden (formerly the FleetCenter), home of the Boston Bruins hockey and Boston Celtics basketball teams, which is directly above North Station.
- Sports and ethnic bars and restaurants along Causeway Street
- Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Federal Building
- Boston's North End, a neighborhood with a wide variety of restaurants, Old North Church, and Paul Revere's house.
- North Station is wheelchair accessible.
- There is a cross-platform connection between the inbound Orange Line and the inbound Green Line.
- Other Amtrak stations on the Maine route may have low-level platforms, but Amtrak provides level boarding through the use of station-board lifts.
- Only selected MBTA commuter rail stations have wheelchair access and most of those have short elevated platforms on the outbound end that only serve one or two cars. See MBTA accessibility.
- North Union Station (Boston, Massachusetts) (1893-1927)
- MBTA Boston North Station
- Elaborate Union (North) Station facade, circa 1890.
- Boston North Amtrak Station (USA RailGuide -- TrainWeb)
- Causeway Street and Accolyn Way entrance from Google Maps Street View
- Commuter Rail and Amtrak platforms from Google Maps Street View