Back Bay

February 5, 2022

Today was a fun day. Me and my brother went to Boston in the afternoon so he could get photos for his photography class. He asked me to go with him because 1. I know how to get around Boston (at least on transit) and 2. I'm a photographer. I also need some photos for my school's art show at the end of April, so expect me back in Boston this spring. We boarded a train in Grafton (Do I do a "revisited" post on Grafton with a couple more photos?) and took it to Back Bay. Oddly enough, this is the same journey that was my first Commuter Rail trip in April 2015.

From the outside, it actually looks really nice.

The front entrance of Back Bay station.

The inside, however, is a bit more interesting. One of the Commuter Rail platforms, the one serving tracks 5 and 7, is widely known for their poor air quality. All Worcester Line trains (the one that goes to my home) stop here. Before leaving from Back Bay later in the evening, I actually told my brother to wait in the main concourse before heading down to the platform. The platform is also mostly low-level, with a mini-high as well. This platform has the ugliest wall I've ever seen in a train station. It's your standard gray concrete, but the bottom part of it is white with a purple stripe (for the Commuter Rail). And this is only along parts of the wall. At the eastern end of this platform, there is a view to I-90, which parallels the station. Apparently the platforms serving tracks 1, 2, and 3 do not have the same issue and are fully high-level, but I've never been to that part of the station.

The view east from Track 5.

When we first arrived at Back Bay, we walked over to Shake Shack to grab something to eat, and planned to take the Green Line from Copley to our next destination (next post!). But this is Boston, and as expected, the Green Line was acting up again, this time a fire at Boylston, which had us change our plans. So back to Back Bay we went to catch the Orange Line.

The Orange Line platform was what I expected. Fully high-level normal subway plaform. It was an island platform, and with my brother not being a transit expert, he was waiting for a train going the opposite direction. The station had the countdown clocks mounted on the wall on the other side of the track, that was neat.

Also on the Orange Line platform is this. A Commuter Rail map dated March 2011, before Wickford Junction opened. There are also a few of these in the main concourse of the station outside of the fare gates.

After a short wait (we had just missed the previous one), our Orange Line train pulled into the station.

Did I mention that it was one of the new ones?

Ooh, nice!


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