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Kenmore station

An inbound train at Kenmore station in July 2019
General information
LocationCommonwealth Avenue at Kenmore Square
Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°20′56.13″N 71°5′44.19″W / 42.3489250°N 71.0956083°W / 42.3489250; -71.0956083
Line(s)Boylston Street subway
Platforms2 island platforms
ConnectionsBus transport MBTA bus: 8, 19, 57, 60, 65
Structure typeUnderground
Bicycle facilities8 spaces
OpenedOctober 23, 1932[1]
FY20197,655 (weekday average boardings)[2]
Preceding station MBTA Following station
Blandford Street Green Line Hynes Convention Center
St. Mary's Street Green Line
toward Riverside
Green Line Hynes Convention Center
Former services
Preceding station MBTA Following station
Blandford Street
toward Watertown
Green Line
Discontinued 1969

Kenmore station is a light rail station on the MBTA Green Line, located under Kenmore Square in the Fenway/Kenmore neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. The station opened on October 23, 1932 as a one-station extension of the Boylston Street subway to relieve congestion in the square. Kenmore is the primary station for passengers wishing to visit Fenway Park, located one block away.

Station layout

A route 60 bus at Kenmore in 2018

Kenmore station has four tracks serving two island platforms; the northern platform serves outbound passengers on all lines, while the southern platform serves all inbound trains. The B branch uses the inner tracks, while the C and D branches use the outer tracks. West of the station, the B branch crosses the C/D branches at a flying junction. The C and D branches split at a flat junction (Beacon Junction) further to the southwest. The Kenmore Loop connects the outer tracks, allowing inbound C and D trains to reverse direction without entering the main subway.

The fare mezzanine is located over the middle of the platforms, with stairs and escalators from the platforms. Passageways lead to the exits on the north and south sides of Kenmore Square. An escalator and stairs lead to the busway, which is in the middle of the square. One elevator connects the south sidewalk to the fare mezzanine level, another connects the fare lobby to the outbound platform, and a third connects the busway to the inbound platform via the fare lobby.

As the last station in the subway before it splits into surface lines, Kenmore is the terminal for MBTA bus routes 8, 19, 57, 60, and 65.[3] During track work and service disruptions on the three branch lines, substitute bus service is often provided from Kenmore.[4]


Kenmore station under construction in 1930

On January 2, 1923, some off-peak trips of the LechmerePleasant Street shuttle were extended through the Boylston Street Subway to the surface station at Kenmore; all-day service began on October 10.[5][6] Most trips were extended along the Beacon Street line to Washington Square on December 14, 1929.[7] The Washington Street service was cut back to Kenmore in June 1930 but resumed that September.[8][9] On February 7, 1931, Commonwealth Avenue and Beacon Street service was extended from Park Street to Lechmere, and the existing shuttle services to Lechmere were replaced with Kenmore–Park Street shuttles.[10][11]

The subway station opened on October 23, 1932, replacing the former Kenmore Incline – whose portal archway can still be seen east of Kenmore Square – and the surface station. The Commonwealth Avenue and Beacon Street services – now the B and C branches – were routed through the station from its opening day. The Kenmore cutback was replaced with a pocket track at Blandford Street.

The Commonwealth Avenue line was planned to be eventually converted to use high-platform metro stock (like the other subway lines), and was to move into a tunnel under Commonwealth Avenue, while the Beacon Street line was to use the short turn loop rather than continuing into the Boylston Street subway. Streetcar passengers would make a cross-platform transfer to subway trains, similar to the then-recently-opened Ashmont station. The streetcar tracks were placed on a wooden structure in the station and at the surface incline pending the future tunnel extension.[12] Over the years, it became clear that the Commonwealth Avenue line was unlikely to be converted to heavy rail service. In the 1980s, the wooden structure was removed and the cavity was filled with dirt and concrete.[13]: 44 

Bus service to Kenmore began in 1933 as replacement for the Ipswich Street line.[14][15] Buses originally stopped at the curb, which required them to cut across multiple lanes of traffic to loop from inbound to outbound. In early 1939, the Chamber of Commerce proposed a busway in the center of the square, with direct access to the station mezzanine below.[16] Mayor Maurice J. Tobin initially supported the plan, but soon refused to allow the city to pay for it.[17][18] The proposal was raised again in 1943, and Tobin awarded a $24,063 contract on June 28.[19][20] The busway, which had a concrete platform and a wooden shelter, opened along with a direct stairway to the mezzanine on November 4, 1943.[21][22]

MBTA era

Service on the Highland branch (now the D branch) began on July 4, 1959. Until its shutdown in 1969, the A branch to Watertown Yard shared the B-branch tracks, running along Commonwealth Avenue to Packard's Corner, where it branched off onto Brighton Avenue.[1] A $314,300 reconstruction of the busway and $342,000 in station modernization work began in 1967.[23] The new busway shelter had red brick walls with a fluted concrete-and-plastic canopy; an escalator from mezzanine to busway was added.[24] The busway work was finished in April 1968, with the modernization completed in 1970.[25][26] The work included the addition of abstract murals depicting neighborhood scenes on the station signs.[27][28]

The station was closed for two months in 1996, after the Muddy River overflowed its banks, completely submerging the platform and some of the mezzanine.[29][30] During the closure, substitute service was provided by commuter rail trains between Riverside and South Station.[1] A similar flood previously occurred on October 6, 1962, requiring closure of the station for five days.[31][32] In 2019, the MBTA installed steel doors at the Fenway portal to prevent future flooding.[4]


The renovated outbound platform

The MBTA began its Light Rail Accessibility Program in 1996.[33]: 30  Design for renovations to make Kenmore accessible began in May 1996, with construction then expected to last from 2002 to 2004.[33]: 14 [34] Preliminary designs for a conical glass-covered busway shelter to replace the old rectangular shelter were released in 2001.[34] Separately, the south entrance to the station was moved inside the Boston University-funded Hotel Commonwealth during its 2002-03 construction.[35] A $22.7 million construction contract was ultimately issued on November 10, 2004, with construction starting in January 2005.[33]: 9 [36] Temporary bus stops on Beacon Street were used during construction.[37]

Work included construction of the busway shelter, raising the platforms, and addition of three elevators and three escalators.[38][33]: 31  The project also involved streetscape improvements with trees and brick sidewalks, intended to make Kenmore Square resemble Beacon Hill and the Back Bay as a break from its rough reputation.[35][34]

The work was originally to be completed in early 2007, but delays mounted. A lawsuit settled by the MBTA in 2006 required changes to how accessibility renovations were designed.[38] Previously undocumented utilities delayed excavation, and keeping the station open during construction presented difficulties.[34] Two sets of stairs had to be kept open during the baseball season, which was prolonged when the Red Sox went to the playoffs in 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2009.[34][33]: 10  The metal frame of the shelter was erected in 2006, but the fasteners for the glass had to be redesigned, delaying progress by several months.[34] By November 2007, the project was projected to be completed in late 2008 – almost two years late – with the cost increased to $32 million.[34]

The station ultimately became accessible in January 2010.[33]: 30 [39] The total cost was $50.6 million; the original base contract had increased from $22.7 million to $40.7 million, almost entirely because of change orders for which the MBTA was at fault.[33]: 8, 30  Art panels featuring Red Sox players on station signs were unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 22, 2010.[40][41]


  1. ^ a b c Belcher, Jonathan. "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). Boston Street Railway Association.
  2. ^ "A Guide to Ridership Data". MassDOT/MBTA Office of Performance Management and Innovation. June 22, 2020. p. 8.
  3. ^ "2023–24 System Map". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. December 17, 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Green Line D Bus Shuttles, January–March 2019". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. January 9, 2019. Archived from the original on January 14, 2019.
  5. ^ "Large Gains Shown by Elevated Road". Boston Globe. December 17, 1922. p. 7 – via Open access icon
  6. ^ "Lechmere-Kenmore Train Service All Day". Boston Globe. October 5, 1923. p. 10 – via Open access icon
  7. ^ "Added "L" Service on Beacon-St Line". Boston Globe. December 13, 1929. p. 19 – via Open access icon
  8. ^ "Several Changes in "L" Service Effective Today". Boston Globe. June 7, 1930. p. 9 – via Open access icon
  9. ^ "Crash of Trolleys Blocks Governor Sq". Boston Globe. July 25, 1930. p. 8 – via Open access icon
  10. ^ Chasson, George Jr. (1987). Lonto, Arthur J. (ed.). "Boston's Main Line El: The Formative Years 1879-1908". Headlights. 49. Electric Railroader's Association: 25–26.
  11. ^ "Lake St, Reservoir, to Lechmere trains". Boston Globe. February 5, 1931. p. 7 – via Open access icon
  12. ^ Cudahy, Brian J. (1972). Change at Park Street Under; the story of Boston's subways. Brattleboro, Vt.: S. Greene Press. ISBN 978-0-8289-0173-4.
  13. ^ Clarke, Bradley H.; Cummings, O.R. (1997). Tremont Street Subway: A Century of Public Service. Boston Street Railway Association. ISBN 0938315048.
  14. ^ Fifteenth Annual Report of the Public Trustees of the Boston Elevated Railway for the Year Ending December 31, 1933. Boston Elevated Railway. 1934. p. 11 – via Internet Archive.
  15. ^ Barber, Richard (March–April 1984). "Fifty Years Ago... The Last Days of Cypress Street Carhouse". Rollsign. Vol. 21, no. 3/4. Boston Street Railway Association. pp. 3–7.
  16. ^ "C. of C. Proposes Traffic Project at Kenmore Sq". Boston Globe. January 6, 1939. p. 28 – via Open access icon
  17. ^ "Kenmore Bus Terminal Bill Favored by Mayor". Boston Globe. March 9, 1939. p. 10 – via Open access icon
  18. ^ "Tobin Against Paying for New Busway". Boston Globe. April 3, 1939. p. 20 – via Open access icon
  19. ^ "Rep. Desmond Fails to Have Lowell Utility Rate Scale Investigated". Boston Globe. March 17, 1943. p. 13 – via Open access icon
  20. ^ "Boston Firm to Build Kenmore Sq. Busway". Boston Globe. June 28, 1943. p. 3 – via Open access icon
  21. ^ "Kenmore Busway Station Open Today". Boston Globe. November 4, 1943. p. 8 – via Open access icon
  22. ^ "This Time in History". Rollsign. Vol. 55, no. 11/12. Boston Street Railway Association. November–December 2018. p. 14. ISSN 0035-7898.
  23. ^ "New Busway to Beautify Kenmore Sq". Boston Globe. May 4, 1967. p. 12 – via Open access icon
  24. ^ "Something New in Kenmore Square". Boston Globe. February 23, 1968. p. 2 – via Open access icon
  25. ^ A Chronicle of the Boston Transit System. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 1981. p. 8 – via Internet Archive.
  26. ^ "Now It's HeaT With the Big T". Boston Globe. April 10, 1968. p. 11 – via Open access icon
  27. ^ Alonso, Jessica (April 5, 1977). "Art from underground". Boston Globe. p. 20 – via Open access icon
  28. ^ Durso, Holly Bellocchio (June 2011). Subway Spaces as Public Places: Politics and Perceptions of Boston's T (MCP). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. p. 55. hdl:1721.1/66801.
  29. ^ Julie Masis (26 August 2007). "River's revival is more than a pipe dream". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  30. ^ Scott Moore; George Chiasson; Jonathan Belcher (15 November 1995). "The Green Line Flood of 1996". NETransit. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  31. ^ Moskowitz, Eric (18 November 2012). "Starts and Stops: MBTA receives first of long-delayed rail cars". Boston Globe. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  32. ^ Clarke, Bradley H. (1981). The Boston Rapid Transit Album. Cambridge, Mass.: Boston Street Railway Association. p. 16.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g Official Audit Report – Issued June 16, 2014: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, For the period January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2012 (PDF) (Report). Auditor of the Commonwealth. June 16, 2014.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g deLuzuriaga, Tania (November 24, 2007). "Problems set back Kenmore makeover". Boston Globe.
  35. ^ a b Kennedy, Patrick L.; Keefe, David (January 24, 2013). "Tracing the Changing Face of Kenmore Square". BU Today.
  36. ^ "Construction To Begin At Kenmore Square Station" (Press release). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. March 17, 2005.
  37. ^ "Transit Updates". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. May 30, 2005. Archived from the original on May 31, 2005.
  38. ^ a b Abel, David (April 5, 2009). "Next stop: All aboard". Boston Globe.
  39. ^ "Rapid Transit/Key Bus Routes Map v.6" (PDF). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. January 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 31, 2010.
  40. ^ "MBTA Kenmore Station, April 22, 2010". Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. April 22, 2010 – via Flickr.
  41. ^ Moskowitz, Eric (April 25, 2010). "Kenmore station upgrades done, finally". Boston Globe. p. B2 – via access icon
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Kenmore station
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