January 1st, 1999

In 1999, we published this web page to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Boston's South Station – New England's busiest train station and at one time the world's busiest train station. We hope you enjoy these historic photos of this well-known Boston landmark.

Boston's South Station is 100 years old this month, having opened for business for the first time on January 1st, 1899. South Station replaced the several smaller stations which had been used by the Boston & Providence, Old Colony, New England, and Boston & Albany railroad companies in the city of Boston, Massachusetts. During the early years of this century, South Station was the busiest passenger station in America. After losing many trains during the 1960s and 1970s, and barely escaping complete demolition on a number of occasions, South Station has made quite a comeback during the 1990s. Not only is the old station seeing more passenger trains now than at any time during the past 30 years, but South Station is now the core of a major office development and intermodal transportation center.

The NHRHTA's Shoreliner® magazine featured a detailed history of South Station in Volume 20 Issues 3 and 4 1989. Issue 4 is still available for sale from the NHRHTA. Let's take a look at some views from these Shoreliner® issues of South Station during its New Haven Railroad days...

This view of South Station's headhouse, looking across Dewey Square, was taken shortly after it opened for business. Note the Boston Elevated Railway tracks in the foreground. The 'EL' structure remained in front of South Station until just before World War II.

Here is a view of the back end of South Station which was taken around the turn of the century. The curved structure at the top of the image is the old glass and iron trainshed. The proximity of South Station to Boston Harbor resulted in corrosion so extensive that the trainshed was removed between 1930 and 1932.

This view looking towards the yard throat around the turn of the century shows some of the lower quadrant semaphore bridges which were so characteristic of South Station before they were removed during the 1980s. This June 1905 photo is from the Stanley M. Hauck collection.

This view, taken shortly after the Blizzard of February 1899, is looking towards the Fort Point Channel. The structures in the background once housed an illuminating gas generating plant. The photo was taken from the end of South Station's trainshed.

Three rolling lift bridges over the Fort Point Channel linked South Station with the Old Colony lines and the Dover Street Yards. These old bridges will soon be demolished as part of the Boston "Big Dig" Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel Project. This photo was taken in 1936 by Charles A. Brown.

The 'Willimantic Express' arrives at South Station from the Providence Division during July of 1950. This view was taken from Tower 1. Note the large numbers of head end cars parked over on the terminal's express tracks at right. Photo from the NHRHTA collection.

A train arrives at South Station from the Old Colony Division during September of 1950. Note the three lift bridges over the Fort Point Channel in the background. As above, this photograph was taken from Tower 1. Photo from the NHRHTA collection.

New Haven I-2 #1312 heads out of South Station and under Signal Bridge #7 during the 1940s or early 1950s. Note Tower 2 in the background. Photo courtesy of Bob's Photos.

The 'Kiss Me Kate Special', carrying a load of stage actors from New York City to Boston, arrives at South Station sometime during the early 1950s. Photo from the NHRHTA collection.

The all-streamlined Merchant's Limited departs Boston's South Station for New York City during 1954. H.W. Pontin photo, NHRHTA collection.

Here is a typical New Haven Railroad Shoreline passenger train of the mid 1960s departing South Station for New York City during the summer of 1966. Photo by Richard A. Fleischer.

The NHRHTA web site is © 1997-2017 the New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association, Inc.
Do you have a question about the New Haven Railroad? Post it on The NHRHTA New Haven Railroad Forum.
Do you have comments about our web site? Contact the NHRHTA webmaster.
For other NHRHTA questions, check our NHRHTA contacts page.