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Thread: Railfanning Yards in Boston

  1. Default Railfanning Yards in Boston

    Boston is a great place for seeing yards. Unfortunately it's often from a highway, so it's hard to stop, but there are 5 yards I can find, excluding end-of-line subway yards.
    There is one that is viewable from at least the Orange Line, probably some roads too, it's the North Station Yard. You can see it heading toward Oak Grove on the Orange line, right after you come above ground after State. It's very big and some snowplows have been visible the last few times I went by.
    Another one is a CSX yard that is on both sides and under I-93. head towards Boston on Storrow drive and you will see the smaller part with the engine facilities, also viewable from southbound I-93. Heading northbound towards Boston on I-93 you can see the other part of the yard which is accompanied by one track of Commuter Rail service out of South Station. I guess you could see the yard from the Commuter Rail too.
    Next up are three yards in the same spot basically. I don't know the roads that go by but there are many including I-93 I think. If you get on the Acela out of Boston you will certainly go by them and I think the Commuter rail goes by too out of south station. One is a red line yard. Not very interesting, it's massive and stores about two full trains. Another is the Commuter rail South station yard. It's mostly inside at an engine facility. Then we get to the biggie: Amtrak's Boston Yard! You can see engines, cars and MoW equipment lying around out side. There is more inside too. This can only be seen by the commuter rail and what I think is I-93.
    I am a newbie to this kind of thing so tell me if I did anything wrong.

  2. Default

    I'm not an expert since I've only been to Boston a few times, but if you want to switch it up, there is a freight yard along I-90 by exit 18/20. (I'm looking on Yahoo! Maps, and there's more than one number). I believe this is the Allston interchange? This is CSX's Beacon Hill Yard, which sees a decent amount of traffic. It's on the old Boston & Albany, so there are also MBTA commuters to Framingham and Worcester and Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited (connection). Never been there, but I've seen pictures from overpasses of at least the yard throat.


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    That is actually the yard I referred to being by I-93. Got that one wrong! It is called the Beacon Park Yard and the land is owned by Harvard. Be careful of the tolls on I-90 that you have to go through to see it. A better idea if you didn't want to go through those, Storrow Drive goes right by and I believe even has a small breakdown lane for a hundred feet or so from which you may be able to see the yard. If you wanted to see a different side, if you know how to get to Nickerson Field in Allston, that appears to back up to the other side. And yes, there are three exits off I-90 there, 18-20. No matter how you go on I-90 you have to pay a toll. People will get really mad if you even slow down, and don't even think about stopping.
    Last edited by DaWolf85; 08-31-2008 at 02:37 PM.

  4. Default

    The South Boston Rail Yard is definitely worth a visit and a great place to shoot photos.

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    Here's a bit of interesting history of the South Boston HaulRoad. The South Boston Haul Road was used for railroad access to Boston from the south of the growing city in the mid 1800's. Before the turn of the century, there were many overhead bridges with extensive freight yard systems and other facilities soon to be built. Also, a subway tunnel was built in 1913 and route was four tracks by the 1920's.
    A private railroad car is not an acquired taste. One takes to it immediately.
    ---Eleanor Robson Belmont

    Arthur Carroll, Boston

  6. Default Getting to Some Yards By Train

    If you want to see some train yards you might consider taking the MBTA's Providence line which is the same as the Amtrak line to Providence or any other station short of Providence. You can get out at any station, walk around, talk to anyone who will spare you a few minutes and see what you can find. You might also check with the MBTA and Amtrak to see if and where you are allowed to take pictures.

    This is the old Boston and Providence right of way where trains have been running since the middle 1830's. I occasionally take a Northeast Regional train from New York to Providence and change to the MBTA to Mansfield. It is an interesting ride.

    You may also find it easier to get to yards from the T or MBTA commuter trains which will pass through or near them. However, the Boston Providence line is the only one I am familiar with.

    Good luck in your search.

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