Chinatown (MBTA station)

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Chinatown inbound.JPG
A train at the inbound (northbound) platform in 2011
Location 640 Washington Street and 1 Boylston Street
Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°21′08″N 71°03′46″W / 42.3522°N 71.0627°W / 42.3522; -71.0627Coordinates: 42°21′08″N 71°03′46″W / 42.3522°N 71.0627°W / 42.3522; -71.0627
Owned by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Platforms 2 side platforms
Tracks 2
Disabled access Yes
Opened November 30, 1908 (Orange Line)
July 20, 2002 (Silver Line)
Previous names Boylston Street / Essex (1908–1967)
Essex (1967–1987)[1]
Passengers (2013) 6,498 (weekday average boardings)[2]
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
toward Forest Hills
Orange Line
toward Oak Grove
One-way operation
Silver Line
Silver Line
Chinatown (MBTA station) is located in Boston
Chinatown (MBTA station)

Chinatown is a rapid transit station on the MBTA Orange Line, located at the intersection of Washington Street with Essex and Boylston Streets in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. The station is located on the edge of the Chinatown neighborhood, within the Washington Street Theatre District.

Like all Orange Line stations, both the subway platforms and all bus connections are fully wheelchair accessible.[2]


Emergency exit headhouses on Hayward Place were built into now-demolished buildings

The station originally opened on November 30, 1908 along with the rest of the Washington Street Tunnel. At this time, the Boston Elevated Railway's Main Line (which later became the Orange Line) was moved from the Tremont Street Subway into this new subway. As in other stations of the Washington Street Tunnel, the platforms were largely separated and given different names - Boylston for the southbound platform, and Essex for the northbound side.[3]

On February 11, 1967, as part of a larger renaming of Orange Line stations, the entire station became Essex. On May 4, 1987, the station was renamed Chinatown concurrent with the opening of the Southwest Corridor.[1] There are additional entrance/exit stairs and passages leading to Lagrange Street and Hayward Place that were closed off in 1972, though they are still used as emergency exits. A long sub-passage connecting the inbound and outbound platforms exists, but was sealed off before the station was opened in 1908.[4]

Silver Line service on Washington Street between Dudley and Downtown Crossing started on July 20, 2002. Additional service to South Station began on October 15, 2009.[1]

Bus connections[edit]

Chinatown serves both routes of the Washington Street section of the Silver Line, which operates between downtown and Dudley Square. The SL4 route serves South Station, while the SL5 route serves Downtown Crossing and Boylston. The station also sees conventional bus service from the 11 City Point - Downtown BayView Route.

Station layout[edit]

The two platforms are offset horizontally and vertically, and are not connected, so there is no free transfer between inbound and outbound trains. The station entrances are integrated into buildings on either side of Washington Street. The inbound platform has an exit, now blocked off and for emergencies only, that leads to a pair of small "orphaned" headhouses on Hayward Place.

G Street Level Exit/Entrance
Inbound Silver Line toward South Station (SL4) (Terminus)
Silver Line toward Downtown Crossing (SL5) (Terminus)
M Mezzanine To entrances/exits
Platform level
Side platform, doors will open on the right
Southbound Orange Line toward Forest Hills (Tufts Medical Center)
Northbound Orange Line toward Oak Grove (Downtown Crossing)
Side platform, doors will open on the right


  1. ^ a b c Belcher, Jonathan (26 December 2015). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district 1964-2015" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14 ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. 
  3. ^ Colby, Sean (2008). "Can't Get In From Here: The MBTA's hidden entrances". Forgotten Boston. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Annual report of the Boston Transit Commission, Volume 11. plate 8: Boston Transit Commission. 1905. pp. 50–53. 

External links[edit]