The Washington Street Elevated

March 26, 2017 – Washington Street in Boston, shown here looking north-east from Dudley Square on Sunday, was once home to the city’s oldest and most-traveled elevated train line. Orange Line trains were diverted to a new tunnel and trench thirty years ago this May. Although the new route ran parallel to the elevated tracks, it bypassed Dudley Station—Roxbury’s most important transit and commercial hub. Photo by Ian Coss.
March 26, 2017 – An unidentified passenger boards the Silver Line on Washington Street in Boston on Sunday. This bus rapid transit system began operation in 2002, following the route of the old elevated rail line on Washington Street. Driver Anthony Russell (pictured in mirror) never knew the old Orange line: “They took it down the year I was born.” Photo by Ian Coss.
March 26, 2017 – Joe Cobb of Everett cleans the display cases at the Morse Fish Company in Boston’s South end on Sunday. Cobb, who has worked at the market for over three decades, remembers when the Washington Street Elevated train ran right outside the storefront: “It would make a lot of noise.” That noise, which impacted local residents and property values, was one of the primary reasons cited by city planners for taking down the elevated tracks thirty years ago this May. “Back in the 70s, 80s, this area wasn’t that good,” recalls Cobb. Photo by Ian Coss.
March 26, 2017 – MBTA employee Sylvester Odoms of Brockton stands in Dudley Station on Sunday. The tower behind him once served the Washington Street Elevated, but was repurposed as part of the historic preservation of the station. Odoms, who is 43, remembers riding the elevated as a child: “It was shaky, that vibration was crazy. There was a curve coming into the station and the whole train would lean.” Photo by Ian Coss.
March 26, 2017 – Grace Paschal of Cambridge arrives at her church in Roxbury’s Egleston Square on Sunday. The building behind her church (shown in the photo) was once a power generating station for the Washington St. elevated—one of the first train lines in the country to be powered by an electrified rail. Paschal rode the line to work as a young woman. Photo by Ian Coss.

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