Needham Heights (MBTA station)
Needham Heights station in March 2016
|Location||95 West Street
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Connections||MBTA Bus: 59|
|Parking||71 spaces (permit only)
4 accessible spaces
|Closed||October 13, 1979 - October 19, 1987|
|Passengers (2013)||1,104 (weekday boardings)|
Needham Heights is a commuter rail station and terminus of the MBTA Commuter Rail Needham Line, located in the Needham Heights neighborhood of Needham, Massachusetts. It opened around 1860 as an infill station on the New York and Boston Railroad. The station is fully handicapped accessible.
On June 1, 1853, the Charles River Branch Railroad was extended from Newton Upper Falls into Needham as the first stage of a line to Dover and beyond. The railroad was not able to follow its original plan to go through the East Village, Needham's historical center, because one landowner refused to sell; instead, it was routed to Great Plain station in Great Plain Village further to the east. A station at Highlandville was added around 1860, by which time the line was under control of the New York and Boston Railroad.
The line became part of the New Haven Railroad's Midland Division in 1898. Around 1900, a movement began to change the name of the Highlandville neighborhood. Needham Highlands was rejected for the similarity to Newton Highlands; on May 28, 1907, the post office was renamed as Needham Heights. The station was also changed to Needham Heights by November 1907.
In 1906, the New Haven opened the Needham Cutoff, a faster route to Boston that avoided the rival Boston and Albany Railroad's Highland Branch tracks. The line through Needham was thus downgraded from an intercity route to a branch line. Loop service jointly run by the B&A and the New Haven operated over the Cutoff and the Highland Branch via Needham from 1911 to 1914; after that, most Needham trains originated at Needham Heights. Service between Newton Highlands and Newton Upper Falls ended in 1927, and between Needham Heights and Newton Upper Falls in 1932, leaving Needham Heights as the terminus of the line.
The Needham Heights station building, a gable-roofed wooden structure, was removed in the 1960s. The MBTA bought Penn Central's southside commuter rail assets, including the Needham Line, on January 27, 1973. The station was closed with the rest of the line from October 13, 1979 to October 19, 1987 during Southwest Corridor construction. A mini-high platform was added during the closure, making Needham Heights fully handicapped accessible.
The station is served by one MBTA Bus route, which runs on Highland Avenue just to the east:
- Belcher, Jonathan (19 March 2016). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district 1964-2016" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- Humphrey, Thomas J.; Clark, Norton D. (1985). Boston's Commuter Rail: The First 150 Years. Boston Street Railway Association. pp. 43–46. ISBN 9780685412947.
- "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14 ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- Roy, John H. Jr. (2007). A Field Guide to Southern New England Railroad Depots and Freight Houses. Branch Line Press. p. 195. ISBN 9780942147087.
- Clarke, George Kuhn (1911). History of Needham, Massachusetts, 1711-1911. University Press. pp. 413–416, 420, 422 – via Internet Archive.
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