As I write this, today is the first Saturday in June. Outside it’s raw, rainy, and about ten degrees below normal, the perfect day to just stay in and relax. Oddly, it remi Six Years from Brocktonnds me of a day when I did anything but in the past.
Six years ago, the first Saturday in June was cool and rainy, but that day I was going all over Greater Boston in the name of transit exploration, not just for The T but for the BAT system down in Brockton, a trip on top of a trip. Since the number of people who go to Brockton mainly for BAT is very small, this was a huge sign that I’m a big-time transit nerd especially since I was traveling out from Albany to do so.
Wake up, shower, eat, take the CDTA 10 to its end, negotiate my way from the back of Crossgates Mall to what now is a two-story Walmart, then spend 3 hours with (if you have Albany ties, sing along) the people with the right connections. My starting point: Aquarium, where an train of 0600’s that more than showed their age met me. After working my way to Government Center to a Type 8 and to Park Street for a pack of 01800’s, now was the time to hit the Commuter Rail, namely the 11:20 train to Middleborough. I was shocked at the tiny amusement park tickets that MBCR issues pre-Charlie, a far cry from fancier MetroNorth/LIRR tickets I cut my teeth on.
Settling on the lower level of a bilevel, I was shocked at the mere existence of there being seats mid-car with tables and I settled in one for the ride being amazed at how I was practically on platform level. When I get to Brockton, I notice three things:
1: The town is perhaps a bit too hung up on its boxing heritage. I know it’s hit on hard times but still…
2: The Green Monster mural at WB Mason headquarters right around the corner is nice and beacon of much needed brightness especially on a bleak day.
3: Signs from the Commuter rail to the batCentre is something that needed to exist. If it’s improved since then, good for them.
As a system, BAT is a typical small city, pulse point system and needing lunch I planned a trip on the 4 to Westgate Mall and back before taking a 12 to Ashmont. The trip to Westgate was typical and about 2/3 full. Westgate was totally underwhelming save for having a Brigham’s when they still existed and the Popeye’s there has the greasiest floor in existence which led me to nearly falling. Several times. And in typical fashion, my return bus was 15 minutes late. By the time I got back to the batCentre, I had to literally run to get the 12 to Ashmont in which I conked out cold somewhere near the Avon-Randolph line after the 240’s terminal.
When I woke up, I saw trolley wire. It turned out to be Central Avenue station on the High Speed Line. I frantically pull the cord to get off (if only the MBTA would go to pull cords like everyone else) and narrowly miss a PCC towards Ashmont so I make it worth my while to ride to Mattapan and back. Getting to Ashmont, less a month before it and the line shut down for its rehab, I sat on a parked train of 01700’s and wondered if the then-pending rehab was worth it and in hindsight, they could’ve kept some of the original setup.
- Eventually, I got back into town and some other fun things happened including:
- Having an entire 3700-series Type 7 to myself from North Station to Lechmere and nearly doing wind sprints from end to end across the Lechmere Viaduct. Yes, I am a dork…
- Riding the 69 and hitting literally every stop out to Harvard.
- Getting lost in Harvard Square – tourist faux pas – trying find the 1, then being rewarded with a ride on the infamous CharlieCard bus.
- Having the bright idea to go from Back Bay to Downtown Crossing to South Station, then to take SL1 to Logan for a Massport shuttle to the Blue Line to home. Needlessly to say, I had to run for something to eat on the ride home because the SL1 seemed to get bogged down as always.
In hindsight, it was worth the effort and honestly I need to do this again sometime! Where in the burbs should I someday go? LRTA? MVRTA? MWRTA?