Cleveland Circle & Reservoir

The other day, I was speaking to someone whom lives out in Metrowest who was bemoaning the lack of Applebees in that area. Somehow, the closest one to her is the one located near the Boston College campus, within sight of Cleveland Circle. I had a partial review written for a while and with grad work eating into my time, I’d might as well give everyone a two-fer and toss Reservoir down the street as a bonus.

Cleveland Circle and Reservoir are separated by only a tenth of a mile (shorter than Ruggles and Northeastern) and in many regards are treated as a common station. The two share a Wikipedia article and in a more official capacity share a bus loop where the 51 and 86 buses terminate and the signs for buses bound for there give equal billing to both stations. While the two are seen as equals, the two stations have contrasting personalities which make themselves unique.

The terminus of the C branch, Cleveland Circle sits at the end of Beacon Street after it re-enters Boston after its jaunt through Brookline. Framed by the Chestnut Hill Reservoir to its immediate west and a nice row of businesses, it sets the tone of how a classic median-running trolley line should be and serves as an eventual teaser for its trip through Brookline before heading underground. I’ve always seen the C as the “happy medium” of the above-ground portion of the Green Line and being a terminal seats for the ride into town are always plentiful.

In contrast, Reservoir reflects the D’s heritage of the old Highland Branch, grade separation and all. In fact, to get to Reservoir one usually must pass Cleveland Circle which in theory would hurt ridership except that the D has the advantages of more than half the stops (5 to Kenmore in contrast to the C’s 12) and no grade crossings. This on average shortens trip times by several minutes but at times can come at the price of many seats already being taken by commuters from Newton and points further west. However, the overall greenery surrounding the D is just as good of a substitute for the charm of Beacon Street so making a decision can be hard at times.

Like any pair of siblings, the two stations look out for each other with the non-revenue track linking the two to Reservoir Yard (and onward via Chestnut Hill Avenue to the B) having allowed in the past such arrangements as running the D via Beacon Street when track work was necessary east of Reservoir. For those with a pass or who are railfanning, the quick walk makes it a good transition point between lines and even to get to the B is only a 7 minute or so walk. As with any siblings (especially twins), my best advice is to not choose favorites since both have their own roles and purposes.

Stations: Cleveland Circle & Reservoir
Rating (1-10): 7

Ridership: Local with a lean towards BC students and family during the school year who don’t want to deal with the often arduous trip on the B (which the walk from Cleveland Circle around the reservoir cancels out). There are some local generators though.

Pros: The ability to choose between two stations. For Cleveland Circle, its setting and always being able to get a seat. For Reservoir, trip time and access to buses plus being able to see Reservoir Yard.

Cons: Having to choose if you’re in a spot to choose. For Cleveland Circle, a slightly longer trip time. For Reservoir, front door boarding does not and never will work on the D as the D wasn’t made for such stuff.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Eagle’s Deli. If you need to have something to bring you here, this is it given the all-around amazing menu. When media ranging from Fox’s coverage of the World Series to Man v. Food have profiled a place, you know it’s good. If you’re daring and have money to burn, try the lesser Challenge burgers and if you’re really daring and can eat (as of this writing) 5 pounds of burgers with 20 slices each of cheese and bacon and 5 pounds of (very good) fries, $59.95 will buy you immortality.

The aforementioned Reservoir Yard is worth a look-see from the outside fence given it’s home to much of the Green Line’s work equipment including the remaining work fleet Boeing LRV’s. Just stay away from the rotting, to be demolished, brutalist carcass of the former Circle Cinema as it will case nightmares.


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