State station

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New Blue Line car at State.jpg
Eastbound Blue Line train at State in 2008
Location 200 Washington Street
Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°21′31″N 71°03′28″W / 42.3587°N 71.0578°W / 42.3587; -71.0578Coordinates: 42°21′31″N 71°03′28″W / 42.3587°N 71.0578°W / 42.3587; -71.0578
Owned by MBTA
Platforms 4 side platforms (2 on each level)
Tracks 4 (2 on each level)
Platform levels 2
Disabled access Yes
Opened December 30, 1904 (Blue Line)
November 30, 1908 (Orange Line)
Rebuilt 1924 (Blue Line)
April 26, 2011
Previous names Devonshire (1904–1967)
Milk/State (1908–1967)
State/Citizens Bank (1997–2000)
State/Aquarium (2004)
Passengers (2013) 13,258 (weekday average boardings)[1]
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
toward Forest Hills
Orange Line
toward Oak Grove
toward Bowdoin
Blue Line
toward Wonderland
State station is located in Boston
State station

State station, well known as State Street station, is a subway station in Boston, Massachusetts. Located in downtown Boston, State is the transfer point between the MBTA's Orange Line and the Blue Line, and one of four "hub stations" on the MBTA subway system.

What later became the Blue Line platforms of State station were opened in 1904, making it the oldest surviving MBTA rapid transit (heavy rail) station. (The Tremont Street Subway, opened in 1897, serves only Green Line (light rail) streetcars). After an extensive renovation which was completed in 2011, State is fully handicapped accessible.


East Boston Tunnel[edit]

Plaque noting the completion and opening of the East Boston Tunnel, located at State

The Blue Line section of the station was built along with the rest of the East Boston Tunnel in the first years of the 20th century and opened on December 30, 1904, serving streetcars running from downtown to East Boston.[2] An unusual aspect of State Street station is the entrance built directly into one of Boston's best-known historic sites, the Old Massachusetts State House. This entrance often confuses first-time tourists and visitors with its unconventional location. The East Boston Tunnel station was originally known as Devonshire after the street which the Old State House is located on. The station is the only remaining station on the tunnel opened in 1904.

Effective April 18, 1924, the East Boston Tunnel was converted to heavy rail (metro) rolling stock. High platforms were installed, and trolley wire was replaced with third rail power.[2]

Washington Street Tunnel[edit]

Early postcard of Milk Street station

The Washington Street Tunnel opened on November 30, 1908 to Main Line elevated trains running between Forest Hills and Sullivan Square.[2] As with the other stations in the tunnel; the two platforms were treated as completely separate stations. The northbound platform was known as State since its main entrance was at the cross street of State Street, while the southbound platform was similarly Milk Street after its entrance from Milk Street. (The station pair was designated on some maps as Milk/State).[2]

MBTA era[edit]

After taking over operations in 1964, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) began rebranding efforts. The East Boston Tunnel/Revere Extension and Main Line El/Washington Street Tunnel routes were renamed as the Blue Line and Orange Line on August 25, 1965. On January 25, 1967, the separate station names of Devonshire and Milk/State were changed to State.[2]

Blue Line level under construction in 2007

Platform extensions on both Orange Line platforms were completed just prior to the introduction of 6-car trains on August 18, 1987. This change was prompted by the opening of new stations on the Southwest Corridor earlier that year, replacing the 4-car-long stations on the Washington Street Elevated.

From 1997 to 2000, State was renamed State/Citizens Bank in a $500,000 corporate sponsorship from Citizens Bank, who had recently moved to the area, and hoped to eventually have the name changed to simply Citizens Bank Plaza.[3] The sponsorship failed and the name reverted to State. During the renovation of Aquarium station, during which that station was closed, State was renamed temporarily State/Aquarium from October 14, 2000 to October 29, 2001.[2]

An extensive renovation of State began in 2005. New CharlieCard fare machines were installed in 2006, which involved closing the Blue Line level of the station from June 24 to July 1.[2] In April 2011, the 6-year-long reconstruction of the station was declared substantially complete. The Blue Line platforms were connected to the already-accessible Orange Line platforms by ramps, thus making the entire station handicapped accessible. All Orange Line stations are accessible, including State, as are all Blue Line stations (with the exception of Bowdoin).

Station layout[edit]

The Adams Square headhouse in 1909
Old State House entrance to State, on the State Street side

State is unique among Orange Line stations as it was built on two levels to fit under the narrow section of Washington Street while crossing the East Boston Tunnel. The southbound platform is above the northbound track and furthermore staggered considerably south of the northbound platform. The southbound platform is connected to the rest of the station by a lengthy pedestrian passageway, originally known as "the speedway".[4]

The station's headhouses are located between Government Center and the Financial District. State station has six entrances spread out over nearly 1,000 feet (300 m); after consolidation and reconstruction by the MBTA, all entrances serve both lines in all directions. One entrance is built into the basement of the Old State House and four into commercial buildings. The northernmost entrance, which is accessed from an unmarked stairwell under 28 State Street on Government Center Plaza, was originally constructed to serve Adams Square but now primarily serves Boston City Hall.[4]

Three entrances are fully handicapped accessible with elevators to platform level: Old South Meeting House (Washington Street at Milk Street), 53 State Street, and 60 State Street. The other three entrances - Old State House (State Street at Devonshire Street), Devonshire Street at Water Street, and Government Center Plaza - are not handicapped accessible.[5] The latter entrance is planned to have elevators installed to become accessible.[6]

Blue Line[edit]

Platform level Side platform, doors will open on the right
Southbound Blue Line toward Bowdoin or Government Center (Government Center)
Northbound Blue Line toward Wonderland (Aquarium)
Side platform, doors will open on the right
Ground - Exit/Entrance

Orange Line[edit]

Platform level Southbound Orange Line toward Forest Hills (Downtown Crossing)
Side platform, doors will open on the left
Northbound Orange Line toward Oak Grove (Haymarket)
Side platform, doors will open on the right

Bus connections[edit]

A route 354 bus stopped on State Street in August 2015

State is served by five MBTA Bus routes:[5]

State is also the closest Blue Line stop to the bus hub at Downtown Crossing, which is three blocks from the Old South Meeting House entrance.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the 2013 video game The Last of Us (which has segments that take place in Boston), one scene is set in a dilapidated State Street station.[7]
  • The 2015 video game Fallout 4, which is set in post-apocalyptic Boston, has a community called Goodneighbor built around the old state house. State Station is featured as The Third Rail, A bar built on the platforms of the station. The signs in game erroneously refer to it as Scollaway Square


  1. ^ "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14 ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Belcher, Jonathan (12 November 2012). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Suited to a T: State Street station becomes a billboard for Citizens Bank". Boston Business Journal. December 19, 1997. 
  4. ^ a b "The Stations of the Washington St. Tunnel, Boston, Mass". Engineering News: A Journal of Civil, Mechanical, Mining and Electrical Engineering. 62 (15): 369. 7 October 1909. 
  5. ^ a b c "State Station Neighborhood Map" (PDF). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. July 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  6. ^ Brelsford, Laura (December 5, 2016). "MBTA System-Wide Accessibility Initiatives: December 2016 Update" (PDF). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Department of System-Wide Accessibility. p. 10. 
  7. ^ Annear, Steve (4 February 2013). "MBTA Station Featured in New End-of-the-World Playstation Game [Photo]". BostInno. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 

External links[edit]