Butler (MBTA station)

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MBTA 3262 at Butler station, August 2016.JPG
An inbound trolley departing Butler in August 2016
Location Butler Street and Branchfield Street
Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°16′20″N 71°03′45″W / 42.272253°N 71.062453°W / 42.272253; -71.062453Coordinates: 42°16′20″N 71°03′45″W / 42.272253°N 71.062453°W / 42.272253; -71.062453
Owned by MBTA
Platforms 1 island platform
Tracks 2
Parking 40 spaces ($4.00 fee)
Disabled access Yes
Opened October 7, 1931[1][2]
Rebuilt June 24, 2006 - December 22, 2007[1]
Passengers (2010) 143 (weekday inbound average)[3]
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
toward Ashmont
Red Line
toward Mattapan

Butler is a light rail station on the MBTA Ashmont–Mattapan High Speed Line, located at Butler Street in the Lower Mills section of the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. It serves a small residential area sandwiched between the Neponset River, Cedar Grove Cemetery, and Dorchester Park. Butler station has no MBTA Bus connections. It is handicapped accessible via a wooden mini-high ramp on the station's single island platform.


Old Colony branches[edit]

In December 1847, the Dorchester and Milton Branch Railroad opened from Neponset to Mattapan and was immediately leased by the Old Colony Railroad as its Milton Branch (Neponset Branch). The Old Colony built its Shawmut Branch Railroad from Harrison Square to Milton in December 1872, joining the Milton Branch east of Butler.[4] The area that is now the small Butler Street neighborhood was still empty land in the 1870s, but was developed by the late 1880s.[5][6] The Old Colony Railroad became part of the New Haven Railroad system in 1893.[4]

The lines never had a station at Butler Street due to its proximity to Milton proper, though a freight house for Milton was built at the Butler Street crossing in the 1910s.[7]

Trolley conversion and Butler station[edit]

The newly opened Butler Street station in 1931
The accessible mini-high ramp at Butler, added during the 2006-2007 renovation

Passenger service on the Shawmut Branch ended on September 6, 1926 to allow the Boston Elevated Railway to construct its rapid transit Dorchester Extension to Ashmont.[8] Construction on a high-speed trolley line from Ashmont to Mattapan began in early 1929, and the line opened as far as Milton on August 26, 1929.[1] The high-speed trolley line entered the center of the Milton Branch right of way on a flyover, and ran to Milton flanked by the Milton Branch tracks. Commuter rail service ended when the trolley line reached Milton, over the protests of Milton residents who wanted limited service kept while the trolley line was extended to Mattapan.[9] After four more months of construction, the full trolley line was opened to Mattapan on December 21, 1929.[10]

In 1930, the Boston Transit Department authorized the construction of an infill station at Butler Street, at an estimated cost of $13,695, to serve the small adjacent neighborhood.[11] Butler Street station opened on October 7, 1931.[2][1] Uniquely on the line, the station was built with a single center island platform rather than two side platforms; this was necessary because freight service continued on the Milton Branch, which bracketed the trolley tracks. A footbridge spanned both freight and trolley tracks, with a set of stairs leading to the station platform, which was covered by a canopy.[12] The freight house remained in use by the New Haven Railroad.[13]

In the early 1980s, the station was rebuilt. The pedestrian bridge was removed and a grade crossing built for platform access; the outer parts also served as small side platforms. An awkward gable roof was added to the old canopy supports.[12]

The MBTA closed the line on June 24, 2006 to allow a new viaduct to be constructed at Ashmont station. During the closure, all stations on the line were modernized and (except for Valley Road) made handicapped accessible. Butler station received a new platform and canopy, with a wooden ramp for handicapped accessibility. Trolley service resumed on December 22, 2007.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Belcher, Jonathan (26 December 2015). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district 1964-2015" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 7 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b A Chronicle of the Boston Transit System. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 1981. p. 4 – via Internet Archive. 
  3. ^ "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14th ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Karr, Ronald Dale (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England. Branch Line Press. pp. 310–315. ISBN 0942147022. 
  5. ^ "Part of Ward 16, Dorchester". Atlas of County of Suffolk, MA. G.M. Hopkins & Co. 1874 – via Ward Maps. 
  6. ^ "Part of Ward 24, Dorchester, City of Boston". Atlas of the City of Boston. G.W. Bromley and Co. 1889 – via Ward Maps. 
  7. ^ "Part of Wards 20 and 21, City of Boston". Atlas of The City of Boston, Dorchester. G.W. Bromley and Co. 1918 – via Ward Maps. 
  8. ^ "GETS PERMISSION TO CLOSE STATIONS: N. Y., N. H. & H. Abandons Shawmut Branch Sept 6 Commission Rules It Necessary to Complete New Service". Boston Daily Globe. August 27, 1926. p. 13 – via Proquest Historical Newspapers. (subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ "ALLOWS NEW HAVEN TO STOP SERVICE: Ruling as to Branch From Neponset and Mattapan Public Utilities Order Effective With Rapid Transit to Milton". Boston Daily Globe. August 1, 1928. p. 8 – via Proquest Historical Newspapers. (subscription required (help)). 
  10. ^ "ASHMONT-MATTAPAN HIGH SPEED TROLLEY LINE TO OPEN SATURDAY". Boston Daily Globe. December 15, 1929. p. A11 – via Proquest Historical Newspapers. (subscription required (help)). 
  11. ^ Boston Transit Department (1931). Report of the Transit Department for the Year Ending December 31, 1930. City of Boston Printing Department. p. 7 – via Internet Archive. 
  12. ^ a b O'Regan, Gerry; Pickering, Bob. "MBTA Mattapan-Ashmont Line". nycsubway.org. Retrieved 7 January 2016. 
  13. ^ "Parts of Wards 16 & 17, City of Boston". Atlas of The City of Boston, Dorchester. G.W. Bromley and Co. 1933 – via Ward Maps. 

External links[edit]