Central station (MBTA)

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Central SQ Station.jpg
Inbound platform at Central in 2013
LocationMassachusetts Avenue at Prospect Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°21′54″N 71°06′12″W / 42.365°N 71.1034°W / 42.365; -71.1034Coordinates: 42°21′54″N 71°06′12″W / 42.365°N 71.1034°W / 42.365; -71.1034
Owned byMassachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Platforms2 side platforms
Bicycle facilities36 spaces
Disabled accessYes
OpenedMarch 23, 1912
Passengers (2013)16,525 (weekday average boardings)[1]
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
toward Alewife
Red Line
toward Ashmont or Braintree

Central (also called Central Square station) is an MBTA transit station in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It serves the rapid transit Red Line and has a street-level terminal for the MBTA Bus system. It is located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue with Western Avenue, Prospect Street, and Magazine Street at Central Square.

Station layout[edit]

G Street Level Exit/Entrance
Platform level
Side platform, doors will open on the right
Outbound Red Line toward Alewife (Harvard)
Inbound Red Line toward Ashmont or Braintree (Kendall/MIT)
Side platform, doors will open on the right


Old tiles above the platforms

Central Square station opened along with Park Street Under, Kendall Square station, and Harvard Square station on March 23, 1912. Several 1912-built tile mosaics displaying the station name are still visible above the platforms. Similar mosaics are visible at a number of other older MBTA stations, including South Station and Broadway on the Red Line.

On January 26, 1978, heavy rains flooded the station.[2]

In the mid 1980s, the platforms were extended at many early-built Red Line stations, allowing 6-car trains to be run beginning in January 1988.[3] The platforms at Central were extended to the northwest (contrary to original plans for the southeast) beginning on April 25, 1985, with new entrances placed west of Prospect Street.[4][5] The row of arches and columns between the tracks was not extended when the station was lengthened, making the extensions visually distinct from the original station area.

A fictionalized version of Central's platform area appears as a backdrop in the Xbox and PlayStation 2 game Karaoke Revolution.

Bus connections[edit]

Inbound entrance on Mass Ave

Central is a major transfer station, with 8 MBTA Bus routes running from the station to various parts of Cambridge, Somerville, Allston, and Boston.


Central is wheelchair accessible. The elevator on the south side of Mass Ave serves the inbound platform, while the elevator on the north side of Mass Ave serves the outbound platform. There are separate entrances for inbound and outbound trains; there is no fare-controlled connection between the two platforms.


  1. ^ "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14th ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014.
  2. ^ Moskowitz, Eric (18 November 2012). "Starts and Stops: MBTA receives first of long-delayed rail cars". Boston Globe. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  3. ^ Belcher, Jonathan (12 November 2012). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  4. ^ Cambridge Community Development Department (2013). "Central Square: Final Report". p. 21. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  5. ^ Sanborn, George M. (1992). A Chronicle of the Boston Transit System. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority – via MIT.

External links[edit]