• Needham Line

  • Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.
Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

  by diburning
 
Also consider that the line also serves West Roxbury and Roslindale. For some, the commuter rail to South Station is a lot more convenient/useful than the buses, most of which only go to Forest Hills.
  by Tallguy
 
Was the bridge over the Charles on the abandoned section north of Needham Heights originally double tracked? Or more specifically, are the abutments wide enough for a double tracked bridge?
  by charlesriverbranch
 
There used to be two bridges across the Charles in the now-abandoned track to Newton Upper Falls: one near the radio tower at 1165 Chestnut Street, and the other where the track curved back to enter the old Needham Industrial Park (which was originally built by the New Haven to attract rail customers).

The bridge near the radio tower was in such bad shape fifteen years ago, when my work took me to that radio tower frequently, that I didn't dare try to cross it on foot. The ties looked rotten enough to break under my weight and drop me right into the river.

The line originally joined what is now the Green Line D branch at Newton Highlands, and ran to Woonsocket (the line from Needham Junction to West Roxbury wasn't opened until 1906). I imagine it must have been double-track back in those days, but I've never seen any evidence of a double-track bridge over the Charles, whether from Newton Upper Falls to Needham Heights or farther west between Needham and Dover.

There was an MBRRE excursion over the line between Millis and Newton Upper Falls back in the 1990s; we all brought lawn chairs and rode in gondola cars.
  by Tallguy
 
Thank you for the info. When you say no evidence, do you remember if the abutments looked wider than thy needed to be?
  by Rbts Stn
 
There is a rail trail near that 1165 Chestnut Street/radio tower location that goes almost to the tracks, and it looks like a single track. You can see the bridge on Google Maps satellite view and the ties look awful, and appear to be single track. Not sure how close you can get from the Needham side at Wexford
  by Mbtagp40mc
 
Image

That’s a view from the other side of 128 from the radio towers facing towards Needham Heights.
  by wicked
 
Sunday service on the Needham line was happening, at least in 1990. That’s about the time the T initiated Sunday service on all South Side lines.
  by Arborwayfan
 
Sunday service on the Needham line around 1990 only lasted a year or two. By absolute chance, I ended up taking one of the last Sunday trains -- just happened to be in Rozzie Sq with friends and suddenly decided we'd rather be downtown, and on the train we found out it was the last Sunday (or maybe I remembered, but we weren't riding it because it was the last Sunday).
  by charlesriverbranch
 
The Needham Heights station strikes me as very unfriendly. The mini-high platform, usually the only boarding/disembarkation point, is at the north end of the platform, where Hunnewell Street crosses the track on an overpass. But there is no access to Hunnewell Street; you have to walk all the way to the other end of the platform, walk to Highland Avenue, walk a block north on Highland Avenue, and then turn left on Hunnewell. You can then stand on the bridge and look down at the place where you got off the train, just a few feet away but inaccessible. Whose idea was that? The train carries you a block past anything you might want to get to, and drops you in a cul-de-sac... and at this time of the year it is a very dark cul-de-sac.

I remember standing on the corner of Highland and West Street as a child in the 1960s, watching a single RDC come across West Street, stop, let out a few passengers, and then go back the way it came. Those people only had to cross the square; if any of them are still alive and riding the train today, they have to walk a whole extra block. It's ridiculous.
  by Arborwayfan
 
All the mini-highs on the line (or the system?) are at the outbound end of the platform. They need to be at the same end of all the stations so that the mobility impaired folks they exist for don't have to trek up and down the train; maybe they chose the front so the engineer can see more easily when spotting at the mini-high? Or mabye they chose at random. At most of the stations it's not a problem. I assume there wasn't space or money for stairs and ramps up to the Hunnewell Street bridge. And they wanted a station where trains wouldn't block West St. while stopped.

When the Needham Line reopened in 1987, they didn't tell everyone to board from the mini-high. They opened doors near the main shelters, which are in the middle of most of the platforms. I'm not sure if the change was because of the ADA (1990) or a new interpretation of the ADA that required level board at the main boarding door of each train, or if it was made for other operational reasons. Whichever it was, when the line opened, only people who actually needed the mini-high had to go all the way up to it -- not a ringing endorsement, either.
  by Rbts Stn
 
Mbtagp40mc wrote: Thu Dec 09, 2021 8:37 pm Image

That’s a view from the other side of 128 from the radio towers facing towards Needham Heights.
Nice shot. Sometimes late at night, when the wind blows just right thru the guy wires of the radio tower, it almost sounds like the old train whistles coming down the track
  by Arborwayfan
 
Poetic
  by jamoldover
 
Tallguy wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 6:22 am Thank you for the info. When you say no evidence, do you remember if the abutments looked wider than thy needed to be?
Looking at the valuation maps for that section of track, both the original (1915) and "as sold to the MBTA in 1973" versions show a single track. I'm going to make a guess that it was always a single track line unless someone finds evidence to the contrary.

Joshua
  by BandA
 
Part of the Needham line was built late after Brookline - Cook Jct (Newton Highlands) was sold to the B&A, so would make sense that it was never double tracked. How wide is the row?
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