Symphony (MBTA station)

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Symphony headhouse.JPG
Outbound entrance in front of Symphony Hall
Location Massachusetts Avenue and Huntington Avenues
Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°20′34″N 71°05′06″W / 42.34278°N 71.08500°W / 42.34278; -71.08500Coordinates: 42°20′34″N 71°05′06″W / 42.34278°N 71.08500°W / 42.34278; -71.08500
Owned by MBTA
  Green Line "E" branch
Platforms 2 side platforms
Tracks 2
Opened February 16, 1941[1]
Passengers (2013) 1,711 (weekday average boardings)[2]
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
toward Heath Street
Green Line
toward Lechmere

Symphony is an underground light rail stop in Boston, Massachusetts on the "E" branch of the MBTA Green Line. It is located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Huntington Avenue. Symphony is the outermost underground station on the "E" branch; after leaving Symphony, outbound trolleys emerge onto the surface and continue down the median of Huntington Avenue.

This station is not wheelchair accessible. Planned but currently unfunded renovations would make the station fully accessible.


The outbound platform at Symphony in 2011
A 1960 plan of Symphony station showing the wide track separation, sub-passage, and the original stair configuration


The station opened February 16, 1941 as part of the Huntington Avenue Tunnel, which was a Works Progress Administration project that eliminated streetcars from Boylston Street and Copley Square in order to ease congestion. The tunnel ran from just west of Copley to just east of Opera Place, with intermediate stations near the major performance halls at Mechanics and Symphony.[1]


Symphony station was built with its two halves separated by the Huntington Avenue underpass, constructed at the same time. A sub-passage connected the two platforms; it was sealed off in the early 1960s when the MTA converted the station to no longer need employees present. Each platform had two entrance/exit stairways on opposite sides of Massachusetts Avenue, each of which split into a pair of stairways to street level.[3]

In August 1978, the MBTA board authorized $91,750 for new glass entrance shelters for the station.[4] Around that time, the inbound side stairways were realigned, with each staircase from the station connecting to one angled surface staircase rather than the original two, as part of the construction of the Symphony Plaza Towers.

Moderate renovations were performed to the station in the early 1990s which included new tiling and improved lighting.

Fare control[edit]

Since their construction, Symphony and Prudential were the only two underground stops on the Green Line where riders paid boarding the train rather than when entering the station. In May 2006, the MBTA installed the CharlieCard electronic fare collection system at the two stations, making them fare-controlled like the rest of the system. Passengers now pay with their CharlieCard or CharlieTicket at platform level when entering the station, and can board at any door to the train.

Planned renovations[edit]

Symphony is one of a small number of MBTA subway stations - along with Bowdoin, Hynes Convention Center, Boylston, and Wollaston - which are not handicapped accessible.[2] Renovations are planned as part of the Light Rail Accessibility Project which would make Symphony station fully accessible. The renovations will include two elevators to each platform, platform modifications, and changes to other station elements to meet Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 specifications. Planning proved difficult due to the number of historic structures in the area, as well as utility and code issues. Design reached 15% (conceptual) level in September 2011, but has not progressed since.[5]

Station layout[edit]

The station is built on opposite sides of the Huntington Avenue overpass

Unusually for MBTA stations, the tracks are widely separated through the station. The Huntington Avenue underpass was constructed at the same time as the station, with the through lanes at track level between the two halves of the station.

G Street level Exit/Entrance
Platform level
Side platform, doors will open on the right
Outbound "E" Branch toward Heath (Northeastern University)
Inbound "E" Branch toward Lechmere (Prudential)
Side platform, doors will open on the right

Bus connections[edit]


  1. ^ a b Belcher, Jonathan (27 June 2015). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district 1964-2015" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14 ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Metropolitan Transit Authority (13 July 1960), Symphony Station: General Plan 
  4. ^ "MBTA leases 60 cars". Boston Globe. 8 August 1978 – via Proquest Historical Newspapers. (subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ "Accessibility Upgrades at Symphony, Hynes and Wollaston Stations". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Archived from the original on 25 January 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 

External links[edit]