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South Station was completed and opened in 1899. At the time, it was the largest train station in the world, designed by the firm of Sheply, Rutan and Coolidge. Notable for the design of the headhouse and the use of stub tracks to avoid turning trains, it also featured an underground track, proposed to "let customers alight in the safety and warmth of the station." However, it was closed shortly after its debut, when the smoke and ash from the steam engines choked the underground area.
In 1989, work was completed on a restoration of South Station. Now using 13 stub-ended tracks, the building has been cut down in size and restored to echo some of its early 20th century beauty. The waiting room also features restaurants and stand-alone businesses. An express service to Logan Airport began in 1999 (called Dart). See the links below for more contemporary information on South Station.
|View of the Headhouse, early 1900s||View of the front, also showing the old Atlantic Ave. Elevated Train tracks (dismantled before WW2), early 1900s|
|South Station before the El tracks were put in. About 1899.||Looking out from the shed, about 1905.|
|Another view with the El tracks, about 1905.||The lower level loop tracks which were never put into service. The lower level later became an employee parking lot and a bowling alley. This photo taken shortly after South Station was opened.|
Links to articles about South Station in Boston
Great Public Places article on the revitalization of South Station
Boston's two Rail Stations from the National Railroad Museum
The architect of the restoration's page about South Station (great pictures!)
History of South Station, from the New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association, Inc.