Yawkey (MBTA station)
Nearly-complete rebuilt Yawkey station in December 2013
|Address||85 Brookline Avenue
|Connections||At Kenmore: MBTA Green Line
MBTA Bus: 8, 57, 60, 65
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Opened||April 29, 1988|
|Rebuilt||March 10, 2014 (planned)|
|Passengers (2007)||585 daily|
Yawkey is a passenger rail station on the MBTA Commuter Rail Framingham/Worcester Line, located in the Fenway-Kenmore section of Boston, Massachusetts near Kenmore Square. The station sits below grade between Beacon Street and Brookline Avenue, next to the Massachusetts Turnpike. Yawkey station was originally opened as an infill station in 1988, for limited service to Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park. Regular commuter service began in 2001 for riders headed to Boston University, Kenmore Square, and the Longwood Medical and Academic Area. Yawkey station is fully handicapped accessible.
Inbound and outbound trains formerly shared a single two-car platform on the inbound track, requiring Yawkey passengers to embark or debark from the front two cars of outbound trains or the rear two cars of inbound trains. In 2012, work began on a new station, which includes two longer high-level platforms and an overhead pedestrian bridge, which will eventually allow direct access from the Beacon Street and Brookline Avenue overpasses through the planned Fenway Center development. Passengers currently board from the east end of the new station; after delays, it is expected to open fully on March 10, 2014. The new station will be served by all Worcester Line trains; it is expected to increase ridership at Yawkey from 585 to 937 daily passengers.
Game day service
Yawkey was opened on April 29, 1988, and initially was only used for special service to Fenway Park to and from Boston Red Sox games. It was used for Framingham Line trains as well as special "Fenway Flyer" baseball trains from the Attleboro (now Providence/Stoughton) and Franklin lines; such trains had an annual ridership of 58,000 in 1990. The station became popular enough that the MBCR added regular commuter service. This largely obviated the need for "Fenway Flyer" specials, though certain weekend Providence trains ran to Yawkey as late as 2007. Similar special trains continue to serve Foxboro station during football and soccer games and special events at Gillette Stadium.
The 1988-built Yawkey station was one of the first MBTA Commuter Rail stations to be built with a mini-high platform for handicapped accessibility.
In early 2000, the MBTA released a study which analyzed the possibility of full-time commuter service to Yawkey. An addendum released in August 2000 analyzed increased service (on all modes) to Fenway Park on game days. Possibilities studied included running game day service from the Plymouth/Kingston Line with an unused trainset, a South Station-Yawkey shuttle, increased Green Line service, and bus shuttles to the Red Line in Cambridge and to Ruggles. Consideration was given to building a dedicated terminal spur and station on the remains of the former Highland Branch.
Regular weekday commuter service to the station began on January 2, 2001, with 4 daily round trips, though weekend service was initially limited to game days. Regular weekend service was added on April 30, 2001. From 2001 to 2014, not all trains stop at the station; most peak-direction trains stopped, but many off-peak trains did not. Before the rebuilding began in 2012, some trains stopped at Yawkey only on game days during the Red Sox season.
In August 2007, the MBTA published a feasibility study exploring the possibility of rebuilding Yawkey as a full-service station. The study concluded that doing so would increase ridership by 60%, from 585 daily boardings and alightings to 937. On November 15, 2010, Governor Deval Patrick and other officials broke ground on a major rebuilding of the station, originally expected to be completed in the spring of 2012. The new station will have two full-length high-level platforms that provide level, handicapped-accessible boarding for all passengers; the old platform had only a wooden ramp for accessibility. The two 700-foot-long platforms (a side platform between the tracks plus a side platform on the south side of the tracks) will be connected with an overpass, and passengers will no longer have to cross the tracks to access certain outbound trains. Projected stopping service is to increase from 17 to 40 trains per day. The new station, projected to cost $13.5 million, will be powered entirely by solar panels located on the roof of the pedestrian bridge.
The rebuilt station is to be the first component of a larger, mostly private development called Fenway Center. Although the developer, Meredith Corporation, wished to close the station during rebuilding, the MBCR elected to keep it open. Fenway Center, which is to be built on the air rights over the adjacent Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), will eventually cover much of the station. As part of the development, walkways will be built above the station, allowing passengers to walk directly to the pedestrian bridge and platforms from Beacon Street and Brookline Avenue rather than passing through private parking lots. After lengthy negotiations, an air-rights deal between the city and the developer regarding Fenway Center was reached in May 2013.
The Framingham/Worcester line schedule was changed slightly in April 2012 to allow for temporary single-tracking through the station for construction. Actual station construction activity started in June 2012, and in August one track was cut, reducing the line to one track through the station. The platforms were installed in late November 2012; construction of the elevator shafts began in February 2013. A temporary ramp opened in June 2013 for passengers to use the east end of the future outbound platform; the old platform was demolished soon afterwards to make room for the west ends of the new platforms. The pedestrian bridge was lifted into place in August 2013, followed by the various roof and canopy elements. The second track was rebuilt in late September, followed by the remaining platform segments.
The new station is expected to fully open on March 10, 2014, coinciding with planned service increases on the Framingham/Worcester Line. The opening was planned for January 13, then January 27, but was delayed due to problems with the Yawkey elevators and adjustments to the schedule based on public comment.
The existing station is accessible, with a wheelchair ramp to a 2-car-length platform. The new station (which is currently under construction) will be fully accessible, with two high-level platforms and elevators to cross from one track to another.
Yawkey Station was a proposed stop on the MBTA's proposed Urban Ring Project. The Urban Ring was to be a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Line designed to connect the current MBTA Lines to reduce strain on the downtown stations. Under the most recent plan, the Urban Ring would access Fenway via Mountfort Street to the north and a new tunnel paralleling the Green Line "D" Branch to the southwest, with a turnoff and station at Overland Street. The Urban Ring project is currently shelved due to the MBTA's financial difficulties.
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