Sep 14 2011, 12:41 PM
South Station offers travelers access to Amtrak's high-speed Acela service as well as Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter rail, intercity bus, rapid transit and bus rapid transit services, including direct service to Boston Logan International Airport.
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Sep 14 2011, 02:58 PM
If I may be so kind as to offer my humble opinion, I think South Station needs a lot of work. It is treated more as a large cafe than a station.
True it's got a food court, but the food court has its own seating, in fact two levels of it, away from the large station concourse itself. Yet the station is loaded with small tables with uncomfortable metal chairs. Observing all the time but primarily during the rush hour, many of those tables are not being used for people eating but rather those just sitting waiting for trains. There should be more comfortable seats, and more of the old style benches. There is only one small bench area located just outside the ticket offices and the entrance to Club Acela.
I have no doubt that one reason for the current arrangement is to thwart usage of the station by those not taking trains (i.e. vagrants), but I don't think that those who do ride MBTA or Amtrak should suffer because of that. Perhaps a waiting room for ticketed passengers, such as the one in NY Penn Station, could be created. There's plenty of room for one there, and there will be even more room with the expansion.
Of the 4 Club Acelas in east coast cities, I think Boston's is probably among the better ones; however it could use improvement by making a dedicated path between lounge and platforms as exists in Washington and Philadelphia. Boston usually pre-boards first class passengers, but having to walk among the crowds often doesn't keep that group intact.
And here's another comment.... If the North/South Rail Link is ever to happen, the space they intend to use for the expanded station might stand in its way. In fact if they can through-route some trains between the southside and northside commuter (and Amtrak) lines, the need for an expanded station might be nullified.
Sep 14 2011, 08:14 PM
Right on, Kevin. The vagrant problem is manageable with the right policing.
I hope the planned improvements at South Station represent an omen for the implementation of Cap Rail service mentioned in the Freight Railroads thread. If trains from Cape Cod have a designated platform, then there should be minimal dispatching delays since engineers would not have to wait for a "slot."
Sep 14 2011, 11:00 PM
A potential Cape Cod train would most likely use the slots now used by Old Colony commuter trains. Although there have been some strange crossovers, most Old Colony trains use the higher numbered platforms since those provide easiest access to the tracks those lines use.