theOriginalMBTA :: the 1897 plans
Originally the subway was built with two southern portals, one at Boylston St and one at Pleasant St, to capture trolley traffic coming from the west and the south, respectively. At Pleasant St trolleys from the South End and South Boston were funneled to Park St. Trolley traffic dropped after the opening of the Washington St Elevated line, the Orange Line, which served the South End. Traffic on the South Boston line ended in the early 1950’s and a short shuttle to Lenox Ave in the South End was put in place for a few years before the line was torn up. Today the area of this portal is a small park in the Bay Village with a cylindrical building that was once a church.
Boylston St station today looks very much like it did when it was first built. In this plan you can see the original layout where both sets of tracks were in use. The inner tracks serve the traffic from the west and is still in use today. The outer tracks lead to the Pleasant St portal and have not been used since the 1960’s. This is where the classic trolleys are stored and the tunnels are still there being used as an emergency exit. Note that there was once a sub passage between the two platforms.
The original Scollay Sq (now Government Center) station was smaller than the present station but still had the odd shape due to how streets were laid out. The original concept for the subway was to concentrate traffic from the south and west into Park St and traffic from the north into Scollay Sq. This required a second platform (labeled “Additional Platform”). Due to a change in commuting patterns this platform saw little use but is still in the station behind a false wall. When Government Center was built in the 1960s the station was expanded to the east and a new tunnel was built to bypass Adams Sq station.
Adams Sq station was always an odd man out in the original system as it was only a north-bound station. Built to serve trolleys from the north and to take pressure off Scollay Sq, changes in commuting patterns led this station to be little used and when Government Center was built the station was destroyed and bypassed by a new tunnel. All that remains of the station today are a few tunnels that are used as storage in the basement of City Hall.
The original Haymarket station was a 4 track station and is just north of the current station, used for storage and electrical equipment. Originally having 4 tracks, due to changes in commuting patters the middle tracks were eventually filled in due to low demand. When the subway was temporarily converted to heavy rail in the late 19-teens, the outer tracks were used for heavy rail while the inner were used to trolleys to and from the north.