Talk:Silver Line (MBTA)

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Anti Silver Line rant[edit]

(I've added headings and a posting date & source for disputed text. I don't agree with it but I don't think it should be removed. The re-factoring page refers to deleting "Content that is entirely and unmistakably irrelevant." This isn't. --agr 05:23, 23 July 2006 (UTC))

As a person from New York who knows what a subway is and what is rapid transit, is the silver line bus by the MBTA of Boston is unheard of and there for a waist of time. You see, the line overall would connect Dudley St to Logan Airport and South Station via a underground Transitway and priority lanes on streets as well as in the Ted Willams Tunnel when going to Logan.

The line uses 60 ft articulated buses that are wheelchair accesible and meant to be very useful with crowds and uses the same on bus fare collection system like any other bus you would find.

The lanes are badily enforced. People would double park their cars in the buses way and cause delays. The "stations" are one other than a piece of roof covering some metal seats which can freeze your but off in the brutal winters. And the smart kiosks that would give real time information on bus status and location and etc. dont even give real or accurate information. The sidewalks are fragile and people including the elderly can hurt themselves with this. Even the promise of prority signaling at lights for the buses dont allow it, not even on washington st., where the majority of the line rests.

So to end this review, this is all i have to say. For $10 Bllion dollars, this is what you can get, the 49 bus. And i really feel bad for residents who lost their orange line el for this. Then again the line is realtively new. So another review is on the way, so i can really justify the accusations i have made. (posted 02:29, 26 November 2004 by


But you understand that Wikipedia isn't the place to enforce your point of view, right? The articles here are deliberately written to try and *NOT* take any point of view. You're right that the Silver Line, as presently constituted, is *NOT* a replacement for the Orange Line El. *I* know; I ride it from time to time. But an encyclopaedic article isn't the right place to fight this war; the MBTA Board of Trustees and the Boston City Council are the right places. Meanwhile, the new Orange line isn't as non-functional as you've made it out to be and someday, the completed Silver line will actually be reasonably useful (if they can ever agree on the routing of Phase III).

Better to vent one's opinion on the talk page than in the article. --DeanoNightRider 04:46, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

For the record, the Silver Line did not cost $10 billion. The Orange Line was not eliminated, it was moved about 1/2 mile to the west and the old elevated structure along Washington Street was torn down. A replacement service was promised for Washington St. and the MBTA considers the Silver Line to be that replacemnt. Many consider the Phase I Silver Line to be "just a bus" but it is far from clear any other alternative running on the street would offer better service. --agr 13:39, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I honestly find the Silver line to be fast, clean, safe, efficient, and comfortable. It's far superior than the Green Line, and it moves about as fast as the Orange/Blue Lines but in far nicer accomodations at a lower cost. It has provided a very popular way for the neighborhood to get to Downtown Crossing, for work, to go to the movies, and Fielienes. Moreover, it has also facilitated incredible increases in property values and a nearly complete and stunning revitalization of the once "bombed out" and now fashionable Washington Street. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .
"However, in MBTA nomenclature, BRT lines, as with all rapid-transit lines, are named by colors, not by number." Begging the question without a doubt. This seems to be saying nothing but that it's BRT not "the #49 bus with a different name" because if it were the #49 bus it wouldn't have a different name. Implies the T could provide great service with nothing but buses if only it could come up with a color for each to make them "rapid". I recommend changing this paragraph. 14:16, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Andrew Station to the Airport?[edit]

I am confused about the most recent MBTA subway map that shows a dotted line as the upcoming Silver Line route to the airport. The line goes from Andrew Station to the airport, crossing the current route on the South Boston waterfront. Is this an entirely separate line? Or am I seeing the map wrong? Will the airport route be a third branch after the tunnel? Why is Andrew station invloved at all? Please, metrophiles, explain how this will work. --DeanoNightRider 04:31, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

For a while the MBTA ran a bus to the Airport that stopped at ANdrew. No longer. The Silver line SL1 service from South Station is now in service. -- 20:11, 12 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Excellent. I will surely ride it soon. When I stood on the South Station Silver Line platform with my slightly foreign-looking friend, I was followed by a security officer who watched us for a couple stops from the opposite end of a Red Line car. --DeanoNightRider 04:46, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

To be fair, I should add that I was staring at one of the vehicles and stood on one platform when a temporary sign directed me to the other. --DeanoNightRider 04:48, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Phase II[edit]

Now that Phase II is mostly open, I'd like to delete most of the details about the temporary arangements. I don't think they have long term interest. Any objections?

For what it's worth, I tried the new SL1 loop to the Airport and it seems pretty good. It's now faster, easier and cheaper to get to Logan from South Station than it is to get to JFK or EWR from Penn Station in NYC.-- 20:11, 12 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The temporary arrangements should be kept, as they are interesting, especially the way the MBTA cheated to meet the deadline by running Sunday afternoon-only service. --SPUI (talk) 21:24, 12 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The new Phase III alternative[edit]

In February, 2006, Massachusetts State Transportation Secretary John Cogliano proposed a much less expensive plan that would eliminate most of the tunneling, running the Silver Line on the surface via Kneeland Street to a new tunnel portal on Essex Street, near South Station. The estimated cost of this proposal is $94 million and it includes expansion of Silver Line service to Copley Square, Grove Hall, Mattapan, and Ashmont, connecting at the Fairmount commuter rail line.

Run the buses further on Kneeland Street and then up a new wrong way corridor on Surface Road past the ever-congested Beech Street area? Could they make the Silver Line any more of a bad joke than it already is?

Atlant 17:09, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Common Names

The labels I gave to the various phases of the Silver Line are from MBTA Web Site. Just so noone thinks I forgot about Logan.

Also, to those who have issues with MBTA service, an even better alternative to wasting our councilpersons time and MY tax dollars - the MBTA customer service hotline. Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 (more or less).(617) 222-3200, option 2.

Raj Fra 21:01, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Should this be split?[edit]

This is two separate routes with separate histories that may never be joined. Would it make sense to either completely split the article, or cover the basics here with sub-articles about the phases? --NE2 12:32, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

The MBTA still wants to believe that this is one route with a missing middle, so I'd argue we should continue to follow their lead. AFAIK, there's still hope that the middle will be built someday.
Atlant 13:59, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't think we should blindly follow the MBTA. I'm planning on expanding the Washington Street portion to include the history of the old streetcar line, which was one of the first streetcar lines in Boston. With that there should be enough information for separate articles. --NE2 03:39, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm having a bit of trouble finding information though, so I probably won't do it now. --NE2 05:26, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

32/20 routes?[edit]

What exactly does it mean in the infobox when it says that there are 32 Airport/Waterfront routes and 20 on Washington St.? Shouldn't those numbers be 1 and 3? --Jfruh (talk) 23:46, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

tracks in the tunnel[edit]

I have a problem with the following text:

"Some have argued that BRT was the only way that the Silver Line could provide service to Logan Airport, because the Ted Williams Tunnel that runs to Logan is an Interstate Highway (I-90), and Interstate Highway standards do not allow rail tracks in the road surface. However, opponents of this viewpoint note that Interstate Highway standards make no mention of rail tracks (other than a prohibition of non-grade separated crossings), and insist that the Silver Line's separate right-of-way within the tunnel would preclude it from having to meet highway regulations."

It seems to be highly speculative and possibly original research. I don't know of any serious proposal to run tracks in the road surface of the Ted Williams Tunnel, nor does the unsourced claim that such tracks are not specifically prohibited by Interstate Highway standards, even if true, convince me that they would be acceptable. I don't know of any interstate with tracks running down the middle and I suspect there are general requirements about the nature of the road surface that could be invoked. A separate right of way might have been allowed, but that would require more lanes and hence a bigger tunnel. It would probably be cheaper to build a separate tunnel for the Silver Line. It all seems dubious at best and without a reliable source that makes this set of arguments, I would delete it.--agr (talk) 15:22, 6 June 2008 (UTC)


is there any press release anywhere saying that SL3 was cancled, becasue on all the maps on the MBTA website it is still listed as a route, but the schedule for it is not up. If it was cancled, it should at least be stated that it is still on all the maps online, on the t, and on the silverline busses.--Found5dollar (talk) 23:05, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Major revamp, 10/09[edit]

I was bold and did a pretty substantial revamp of this article. Most of the material has been preserved, but I rearranged it fairly extensively. The article as it was had been built in bits and pieces over time, and thus much of the history of the Silver Line, in fairly minute detail, was scattered all over the article. It's great for this history to be preserved, but it was somewhat confusing as it was, so I segmented it out so that the four services that currently exist, with their current configuration, are put up front, followed by a history section with all the historical notes placed in chronological order. I also zapped the existing map because it is now inaccurate and outdated -- I hope its original designer will redo it for the current configuration. I also downgraded some insider jargon (Phase I and Phase II) and instead showcased more route designations that the average user will be more likely to encounter.

Essentially all my edits have come from refactoring and consolidating the existing material; I don't live in Boston and I've never actually ridden on the Silver Line. So if I've gotten anything wrong, I encourage folks to correct my mistakes. However, I do think that the new structure for the article is easier for those unfamiliar with the material to understand, with a heirarchy of what they might want to know reflected in the article (begin with what the service is like today, then move on to its history). --Jfruh (talk) 05:59, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Route Map[edit]

As anyone considered creating a graphical route map like many of the rapid transit pages have? I have no html skills so I can't do it. I think it would bring this page inline with the other MBTA transit pages. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Crash575 (talkcontribs) 22:58, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

I made a subway diagram map a few months back. As part of a major current project I am creating a giant vector map, from which elements can be taken to form local geographic maps, including one of the Silver Line. Pi.1415926535 (talk) 17:21, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Historical context[edit]

I have given a historical background description of plans for the line, back to 1948 and the 1980s.Dogru144 (talk) 19:09, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Looks excellent! Pi.1415926535 (talk) 17:21, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Silver Line (MBTA)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Retrolord (talk · contribs) 05:05, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

I will review. King•Retrolord 05:05, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Significant amounts of the article's prose is without reference. To meet GA standards, references, and compliance with such policies as WP:OR and WP:VERIFIABILITY, these sections must be reference. Due to this, the article meets the quick fail criteria. Please renominate the article once you have dealt with the extensive referencing issues, thank you. King•Retrolord 03:14, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

The following is unreferenced:

"Two Silver Line services operate in a dedicated tunnel from South Station to Boston World Trade Center, and then in a reserved surface right-of-way for another two blocks farther east to Silver Line Way station, and then beyond there in mixed traffic: SL1 Logan Airport – South Station SL2 Design Center – South Station During rush hours, a few additional buses turn around at Silver Line Way and head back into the tunnel to augment the service between South Station and Silver Line Way. SL1 buses operate in a loop at Logan Airport and only serve the four terminal buildings, at the "arrivals" level. The Silver Line stops are at the curb on the "downstream" end of each terminal (in terms of traffic flow). Other free shuttle bus services connect the terminals and other airport destinations, including the Airport station on the Blue Line, hotels, rental cars, and the water taxi. A system of moving walkways connects Terminals A and E, the Hilton Hotel and the central parking area. See the Logan Airport article for lists of which airlines serve each terminal."

"Passengers traveling on SL1 and SL2 pay the standard MBTA subway fare: $2.00 when using a CharlieCard, $2.50 when using CharlieTickets or cash. Ticket vending machines that accept cash and credit cards are installed in the Logan Airport terminals and World Trade Center, Courthouse, and South Stations. A faregate-free and cost-free transfer to and from the Red Line is available at South Station for all SL1 and SL2 riders, but only CharlieCard users get free transfers to other bus lines and reduced fare on Express Bus. CharlieCard and CharlieTicket users, but not cash users also get a free transfer to SL4 service (at street level)."

"The Neoplan USA AN460LF dual-mode 60 foot articulated buses on these services are powered by overhead electrical wires from South Station to Silver Line Way, to avoid generating internal combustion fumes in the tunnel, and continue on thereafter on diesel power, which is converted to electrical power to run the same electric motors used when running on overhead power. These buses provide higher capacity than standard 40 foot buses; both the rear and center wheels are powered by electric motors, which permits these buses to continue operation even through snow. These buses are wheelchair ramp–equipped, using kneeling bus technology and a flip-out ramp. (See MBTA accessibility for more information.)"

"Two Silver Line services run between Dudley Square in Roxbury and downtown Boston along Washington Street in reserved bus lanes: SL4 Dudley Station-South Station SL5 Dudley Station-Downtown"

"Passengers can transfer to SL1 and SL2 buses at South Station; however, SL4 buses stop at a surface bus stop across the street from the station complex, whereas SL1 and SL2 buses stop at an underground stop within the station, so there is no direct transfer or capability for through service."

"During the day, compressed natural gas (CNG) powered 60-foot Neoplan USA and diesel-electric hybrid New Flyer articulated buses are used on the SL4 and SL5 services for greater capacity than that provided by standard buses. At night, when the passenger load is less and the greater engine noise of the articulated buses is deemed more objectionable, standard (40-foot, non-articulated) CNG powered buses are used. During snowstorms, standard buses and sometimes a few articulated dual-mode buses from lines SL1 and SL2 (see above) are also used, because the articulated buses normally used on lines SL4 and SL5 have drivetrains only from the engine to the rear wheels, and therefore do not work well on slippery roads (this is especially true for the Neoplan USA articulated buses, which are pulled from service even in case of light snow). The reverse substition is not allowed: for safety reasons, CNG vehicles are not allowed into the SL1/SL2 tunnel. As with SL1 and SL2, these buses are wheelchair ramp-equipped, using kneeling bus technology and a flip-out ramp. (See MBTA accessibility for more information.)"

" Station Routes Transit Time[9] Opened Transfers and notes Dudley Square SL4 and SL5 0 minutes July 20, 2002 1, 8, 14, 15, 19, 23, 25, 28, 41, 42, 44, 45, 47, 66, 170, and 171 bus lines Melnea Cass Boulevard SL4 and SL5 July 20, 2002 Lenox Street SL4 and SL5 July 20, 2002 Massachusetts Avenue SL4 and SL5 July 20, 2002 1 and CT1 (Not the same as Massachusetts Avenue station on Orange Line, 1/2 mile northwest) Worcester Square SL4 and SL5 Late 2002 Newton Street SL4 and SL5 July 20, 2002 Union Park Street SL4 and SL5 July 20, 2002 East Berkeley Street SL4 and SL5 10 to 12 minutes July 20, 2002 Herald Street SL4 and SL5 July 20, 2002 Tufts Medical Center SL4 and SL5 July 20, 2002 11, 43 and Orange Line Chinatown SL4 and SL5 July 20, 2002 11 and Orange Line (inbound buses only) Boylston SL5 July 20, 2002 43, 55 and Green Line (outbound buses only) Downtown Crossing SL5 16 to 21 minutes July 20, 2002 Orange Line and Red Line at Downtown Crossing; Green Line at Park Street South Station SL4 13 to 22 minutes Oct. 13, 2009 Silver Line SL1 (Logan Airport), SL2, Red Line, MBTA commuter rail, Amtrak, local and intercity buses"

"Proposals to build a new subway line under Washington Street or a new trolley line along Washington Street were deemed impractical, so the Orange Line was re-routed about 1/2 mile west onto the Southwest Corridor right-of-way, leaving many local residents without a rapid-transit option. BRT was chosen to provide this service, and the MBTA feels it meets the needs of the communities affected by the Orange Line relocation.[citation needed] The line started running July 20, 2002, replacing service provided by the 49 bus (which had existed as a feeder route before 1987).

A Silver Line trolley bus at Courthouse station. This 40' model was used in the early days of the service, but has since been transferred to Cambridge operations. The tunneled section extending east of South Station, known as Silver Line Phase II, was constructed in conjunction with Boston's Big Dig and was originally referred to as the South Boston Piers Transitway. Tunnel sections were fabricated in a nearby, World War II–era dry dock and floated into place. Phase II opened on Friday, December 17, 2004, with the first route (Silver Line Waterfront) running only to Silver Line Way, temporarily using new electric trolley buses borrowed from the trackless trolley routes that have their hub in Cambridge, as not enough dual-mode buses were available initially"

"For nearly five years after the opening of Silver Line Phase II, the two segments of the Silver Line were disconnected from one another. The MBTA wanted to connect the two via an underground tunnel, however the construction of this section, dubbed Silver Line Phase III, is no longer included in the region's long term plan due to funding concerns (see below for more details). A partial solution that did not require a new tunnel opened on October 13, 2009, after fast-track construction using federal stimulus money. The new route, SL4, covers much of the same ground as the proposed Phase III in a dedicated bus lane on the surface that terminates across Atlantic Avenue from South Station, allowing a somewhat circuitous pedestrian transfer between Phase I and Phase II. When SL4 began operation, the existing Silver Line Washington Street service was rebranded SL5."

"The Silver Line services are among the most high utilized and least costly bus routes in the MBTA system. Three of the services—SL1, SL5 and the South Station to Silver Line Way shuttle—are the only bus routes that show a net profit. The median net cost among the 173 MBTA bus routes in 2012 was $2.13 per passenger."

"Response to the plan was mixed. Some residents were in favor of the tunnel since it would allow a faster one-seat ride from the South End and Roxbury to downtown and the Waterfront, with a direct fare-controlled connection to three of the subway lines. Others objected to the placement of a portal on busy streets, while others were opposed to the plan as it would cement use of the bus-based Silver Line to replace the Washington Street Elevated instead of the subway line that was originally promised."

"As of 2013, unresolved funding difficulties in the overall Massachusetts transportation budget impede any major capital improvements to existing Silver Line facilities. The Silver Line's SL1 route from the World Trade Center stop to the Ted Williams Tunnel is considered by critics to be unnecessarily convoluted. Despite the fact that the Silver Line's portal is less than 100 yards (91 m) from the eventual entry ramp to the Williams Tunnel, the line must cross D Street at grade and proceed to the Silver Line Way stop to change over from overhead electric to diesel. This requires a loop back towards downtown on several surface streets before it can enter the tunnel, adding several minutes to the ride. The inbound route makes a stop above ground at the entrance to the World Trade Center stop, then proceeds eastwards to Silver Line Way, and then goes underground for a second stop at the World Trade Center. For some time after the Big Dig ceiling collapse in 2006, the SL1 temporarily used a closer entrance ramp normally reserved for the Massachusetts State Police. However, use of this shortcut was stopped after the affected sections of roadway were reopened for Silver Line use. "