The Curmudgeon’s Guide to the Blue Line

Wonderland? Hardly.

Welcome to the Curmudgeon’s Guide to the MBTA, where we examine the bane of your Boston existence, one line at a time.

No, everyone hasn’t been raptured away, and no, you aren’t doomed to wander through an East Boston purgatory. You’re riding the Blue Line.

Built as the world’s widest underwater streetcar tunnel in 1904 and outfitted for subway cars in 1924, the Blue Line answers the age-old question, “What if I Am Legend had public transportation?” A layer of Teflon applied to the seats ensures that even when you’re not wedged into a train like a bunch of 90s dads bum-rushing a Toys ‘R’ Us in search of a Furby, you’re still not quite comfortable.

Plans for a Blue Line-Red Line connector at Charles/MGH have been repeatedly proposed and subsequently scrapped over the last few decades, either over logistics or the T’s lint-filled pockets. The project’s page on MassDOT’s website is currently a 404 error, and there’s a metaphor to be mined from that.

The Stops

Of course, there’s Wonderland, immortalized in countless schmaltzy Instagrams and the 1996 rom-com Next Stop Wonderland, in which Hope Davis’s mother places a personal ad in the Herald to remedy her daughter’s sad love life. No, really. Nothing quite sets the mood like a little Wingo and Howie Carr trying to keep the gays out of the South End.

Wood Island Park was shortened to Wood Island in 1967, after the park was destroyed to make room for Logan Airport’s expansion. Meanwhile, at Maverick—loitering capital of the Eastern Seaboard—you must rely on a Stanley Kubrick-designed cribbage board to determine where your train is.

Photo courtesy Ed Lyons

Photo courtesy of Ed Lyons

Back in the 1970s, the outbound platform at Suffolk Downs burned down. Until the T fished enough nickels from behind the couch cushions to repair the thing, you had to overshoot the station by one stop, then double back. World. Class. City.

The Characters

The Blue Line Bunny, an inexplicable number of men with rat-tail haircuts, praying mantises, Hope Davis.

The Bright Side

It’s awfully tough hating on the Blue Line. As outlined in my defense of Revere Beach, the Blue Line is usually tidy and fast. Even the drivers are delightful. And, like the Orange Line, it consistently tops the other lines in reliability, according to performance data on the T’s dashboard. Besides, how can you hate a line that dumps you out at the beach, and such a short walk to Kelly’s Roast Beef?

The newly renovated Government Center station is not only gorgeous and infinitely better than the previous incarnation’s Blue Line platform, but it was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.

Until 1940, Wonderland was known as Bath House. This was, by all accounts, an upgrade.

Let’s see what the people are saying.