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Tremont Street Subway

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Trevor Kelley

on 15 November 2013

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Transcript of Tremont Street Subway

The Completion of the Tremont Street Subway
This map shows the expansion of the Tremont line into the Green line. It shows how the railroad started off at Park Street to Boylston, and a month later continued to Pleasant Street. Within the next year the subway grew to Scollay Square, Adams Square, North Station, and the Canal Street incline.
Tremont Street Subway: America's First Subway
Why Were the First Subways Needed?
Methods of transportation were needed to allow both unskilled and skilled workers to commute to work
originally, railroads in Boston were above ground and drawn by horses
Over Congestion of Traffic
Boston was very highly populated, and street traffic was deplorable
1880 population of Boston: 363,839
citizens often complained about being unable to walk on the streets

Why Were the First Subways Needed?
as a result of the large amount of street traffic, rapid forms of underground or otherwise off the street transportation were needed
at first, while electric streetcars were installed, but they were still above ground and interfered with traffic
the city of Boston decided to move their transportation system underground
Tremont Street was one of the most congested streets in Boston, and therefore picked to receive the very first underground railway
The first subway linked Tremont Street and Boylston Street

Disaster Causes Public Disapproval
March 4, 1897: large explosion occurred near a subway dig site on Tremont Street, sending some electric street cars flying “at least 80 feet” in the air
Disaster Causes Public Disapproval
Citizens still unaccustomed to the idea of subways and underground transportation
feared that the explosion was caused by a subway
in reality it stemmed from negligence of a gas company
As a result, the subway was at first not popular, though once it was opened to the public it gained a reputation as a fast and efficient method of transportation
"100 Years of the Tremont Street Subway." NETransit:. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. <http://web.archive.org/web/20070127175605/members.aol.com/netransit/private/tss/tsstext.html>.
"Big Dig - The Ultimate History Project." The Ultimate History Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2013. <http://www.ultimatehistoryproject.com/big-dig.html>.
"Boston Transit Milestones." MIT OpenCourseWare | Free Online Course Materials. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <http://web.archive.org/web/20071226144303/http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Civil-and-Environmental-Engineering/1-012Spring2002/Readings/detail/green_line_project.htm>.
"History of the Boston Subway." The Boston Globe n.d.: n. pag. The Boston Globe. Web. <http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/gallery/first_big_dig/>.
"In 1897 Boston Built America’s First Subway to Help with Congestion And… Blizzards." BillDamoncom. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. <http://www.billdamon.com/in-1897-boston-built-americas-first-subway-to-help-with-congestion-and-blizzards/>.
"Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority." MBTA About the MBTA History. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2013. <http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/history/?id=962>.
"Population History of Boston from 1790 - 1990." Boston Population History. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2013. <http://physics.bu.edu/~redner/projects/population/cities/boston.html>.
"Wikimedia Upload." Wikimedia Upload. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/>.
This is an image of the streets of Boston before the subway was created. The clutter is very apparent, and the traffic was horrible. The trains were also pulled by horses which could be very hard to deal with.
In this diagram, each picture depicts a different step of the railroads being created. In the first image it shows the men first digging into the ground. They dig from above and go down. The second image shows that they have almost completed digging and are starting to put in scaffolding. The third image shows the completion of the scaffolding and the start of the foundation. The fourth image shows the finishing of the foundation. The fifth image shows that the tunnel is being covered back up with ground. The sixth picture shows the completion of the subway with trains inside and it shows that it is safe for horses to walk over the subway.
The image below shows the path of the subway connecting Boston to East Boston. It also shows how the workers would start from two separate ends of the tunnel and work towards each other until they met.
The Impact on Boston
After the initial resistance from Bostonians faded,due to the fear of health problems and collapsing streets, the subways became a cheap and popular mode of transportation
"The effect was like when a barrier is removed from the channel of a clogged-up river; the tremendous pressure on the surface thoroughfares was at once relieved and movement became free and accelerated to a degree that has never been witnessed by the present generation."
- Harper's Magazine, 1897
This map depicts the trails that horses used to travel through Boston. These trails were converted into the first subway routes. This image can be confusing, however the darker lines are those of the horse trails and the lighter lines are simply streets. The image below shows the eventual completion of the railroads, it is much easier to follow however, it is not as accurate.
This is the cover of the Boston Globe on September 1, 1897, a Wednesday morning. The start of the first subway was national news and made it into many newspapers across the country. The images show subway entrances on Park Street, at the public Gardens, and on Boylston Street. The image at the center bottom shows the interior of one of the subway stations. Below is a picture of one of the first subway entrances.
The Impact on Boston
On September 1, 1897 the subway opened.
Over 100 people jammed themselves onto the first train to be the first to experience the new subway.
That first day, over 100,000 Bostonians would ride the subway for the short three and a half minute trip.
Today, Boston's T transports more than one million riders in a single day.
The Impact on America
Despite the explosion during construction, the construction of the subway was considered a success.
The subway was completed not only early, but also underbudget, with
The Boston Globe
reporting, "nearly everything went as smooth as the proverbial clockwork, and the opinion heard on all sides was that, as far as it goes, the subway is an unqualified success."
Congestion on the streets above was immediately reduced, and cities across the United States could see the value of the new subway.
The Impact on America
These cities used the new Tremont Street Subway as a blueprint for how they should go about constructing theirs.
New York's first stretch of subway opened in 1904, based largely on Boston's example.
Philadelphia followed Boston's method of integrating both above-ground and underground tracks in 1908.
PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) connected New York and New Jersey by subway in 1909.
The Tunnels Today
The tunnels were abandoned for various reasons, with some serving as late as 1961.
Many tunnels were rerouted due to station updates, abolition of overhead rail lines, or to fit changes in the growing city's layout.
In the graphic at the right, three of the abandoned tunnels can be seen. The red one at the center is the original 1897 Tremont Street Subway.
These images both show the Tremont Street Subway, one in its modern state and the other in 1898.
This political cartoon shows the hopes of what the subways could become or lead to.
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