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South Station, New England's second-largest transportation center[1] (after Logan International Airport), located at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Summer Street in Dewey Square, Boston, Massachusetts, is the largest train station and intercity bus terminal in Greater Boston, a prominent train station in the northeastern United States and serves as a major intermodal domestic transportation hub, with service to the Greater Boston region and the Midwestern and Northeastern United States.


South Station's facilities and offerings include:

The station is accessible by the general public 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

North Station connectionsEdit

Several MBTA commuter rail lines, plus Amtrak's Downeaster service to Maine, originate from North Station, about 1¼ miles (2 km) around the Boston peninsula from South Station. Transfers from North Station to all other Amtrak trains and the MBTA Commuter Rail's Providence/Stoughton, Needham, Franklin and Framingham/Worcester lines may be made at Back Bay (a one-seat ride on the Orange Line); all other passengers have to change subway trains at either Park Street or Downtown Crossing stations. A North-South Rail Link is proposed to unify the two halves of the rail system, but as of May 2006 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has withdrawn its sponsorship of the proposal due to its high cost.Template:Citation needed The North-South Rail Link is not mentioned in the MBTA's FY2010–FY2014 Capital Investment Program.[2] Currently passenger equipment is transferred between the two halves of the system via the Grand Junction Railroad, which is not used for passenger service.

Bus terminalEdit

The South Station Bus Terminal is housed in a separate building along Atlantic Avenue, built over the train platforms, and serves several bus companies and destinations.

Nearby attractionsEdit


  • South Station is wheelchair accessible, but finding the elevator to the subway can be a bit tricky (it's in the corridor behind the information booth). There is another elevator directly outside the Dewey Square exit, but that elevator is often locked.
  • Other Amtrak stations on the Northeast Corridor are generally accessible.
  • Some MBTA commuter rail stations have no wheelchair access and many of those that do have short elevated platforms that only serve one or two cars, on the outbound end of the train. See MBTA accessibility.


In the early 1900s, after the station first opened, heavy commuter ridership made it the busiest station in the world. However, massive cutbacks made by the bankrupt New Haven Railroad, and an increase in the popularity of automobile travel later left the station with far fewer riders than at that time.

More recently, ridership has grown considerably, in part due to the reopening of Old Colony commuter rail service and the electrification of the Amtrak Northeast Corridor from New Haven to Boston, which allowed high speed Acela service.[3] Of the eleven Amtrak stations in Massachusetts, South Station was again the busiest in FY2010, boarding or detraining an average of nearly 3,600 passengers daily.[4]

South Station Ridership (passengers/year)

Service 1975 1990 2001
Intercity rail 537,000 839,000 1,060,000
Commuter rail 2,774,000 12,000,000 18,000,000
Intercity Bus n/a n/a 3,000,000


Need for a combined stationEdit

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Map showing Boston railroad terminals in 1880, before the construction of South Station
A view of the Atlantic Avenue Elevated in front of South Station; the elevated station was at far right
Looking north at the merge of the two approaches, with the two pairs of tracks approaching the lower-level loop at right; the terminal is in the background


When the railroads serving Boston were first laid out and built, each one stopped at its own terminal. The four terminals serving the south-side railroads were as follows:

South Station combined the four terminals in one spot (a union station).


File:South Station lower level loop.jpg

South Station opened as South Central Station on January 1, 1899 at a cost of $3.6 million (1899 dollars). The architects were Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge of Boston, with the actual construction undertaken by the engineering firm of Westinghouse, Church, Kerr & Co. It became the busiest station in the country by 1910. A station on the Atlantic Avenue Elevated served the station from 1901 to 1938; what is now the Red Line subway was extended from Park Street to South Station in 1913. The train shed, one of the largest in the world, was eliminated in a 1930 renovation due to corrosion from the nearby ocean's salt air. While the station handled 125,000 passengers each day during World War II, after the war passenger rail declined in the U.S. In 1959, the Old Colony Railroad, which served the South Shore and Cape Cod, stopped passenger service. The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad went bankrupt in 1961. South Station was sold to the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) in 1965. Portions of the station were demolished and the land was used to build the Boston South Postal Annex and the Stone and Webster building.

In the original configuration, two tracks came off each approach to join into a four-track line and then run under the main platforms in a two-track loop. These tracks were never put into service, and later became a parking lot and bowling alley for employees.[5]


File:South Station Terminal Inside.jpg

In 1978, the BRA sold what was left of the station, now on the National Register of Historic Places,[6] to the MBTA, though the BRA retained air rights over the station. Funding was obtained for a major renovation of the station that was completed in 1989. A total of 13 tracks became available, all with high level platforms and some capable of handling 12-car trains. Piers were installed for the eventual construction of an office building and bus station above the tracks. After some delays, an inter-city bus terminal opened in October 1995, replacing one on top of the I-93 Dewey Square Tunnel diagonally across from the station between Summer Street and Congress Street. The new bus terminal has been called “the best bus facility in the country”Template:Citation needed and has direct ramp connections to I-93 and the Massachusetts Turnpike (though there are two traffic lights in the outbound direction). The renovations, including the bus terminal, cost $195 million (2001 dollars).

The Red Line subway platforms were extended in 1985 to allow six-car trains, and renovated again in 2005 as part of the Silver Line Phase II project, which serves the waterfront and Logan Airport. The Phase II tunnel was constructed in conjunction with Boston's "Big Dig" and was originally referred to as the South Boston Piers Transitway. Phase II opened on Friday, December 17, 2004, with the first route running only to Silver Line Way. An new Phase I Silver Line route, the SL4 was added on October 13, 2009, with a stop across the street from South Station.[7]


Planned system improvements should result in additional passenger traffic. Silver Line Phase III would build a tunnel connecting South Station with the Silver Line Phase I BRT service to Dudley Square, Roxbury. T. F. Green Airport Station in Rhode Island is currently under construction. An extension to Fall River and New Bedford, Massachusetts is being planned.[8][9]

A proposed relocation of the Boston General Mail Facility would provide room for the addition of seven new tracks and would allow more MBTA Commuter Rail and Amtrak trains to use the station. In October 2010, the state of Massachusetts was awarded a US$32.5 million grant from the federal government to begin planning for this expansion.[10][11]

See alsoEdit


  2. MBTA Capital Investment Program
  3. French & Fowler, The Renovation of Boston’s South Station, 2003
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named fy2010
  6. Template:NRISref
  7. New Silver line service, MBTA press release, October 13, 2009
  8. Ross, Casey. "Mass. will try to buy Postal Annex to save rail expansion", January 8, 2010. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  10. Mass. receives funds to upgrade South Station. The Boston Globe (25 October 2010). Retrieved on 26 October 2010.
  11. State wins $32.5M grant to plan South Station expansion. The Boston Globe (25 October 2010). Retrieved on 26 October 2010.


External linksEdit


Template:Amtrak web

fr:South Station pl:Boston South Station sv:South Station zh:南站

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