Alphabetical MBTA Trip, Part I: A through H

Today R and I finally took the “alphabetical” MBTA trip that we’ve been thinking about for some time. This came about when we started talking about different T stations and whether we could travel them in alphabetical order. The rules for this evolved during the planning, and last night I decided that after our start at Alewife, we only would “count” a station if we got off at it. So while we had initially thought we would travel from Alewife to Broadway and then change at Park for the Green Line to Copley, I decided that was “cheating” and that we’d need to take a bus. Luckily R knows the bus system like the back of his hand and suggested that we take the 11. But let me walk you through the trip from the top!

Map of a trip

Alphabetical Trip on the MBTA: A through H

We started our trip by biking to the Alewife Station and then getting in the first car, sitting in the first seats.

Boy standing by station sign

R at Alewife, the start of our trip

We were on a train car with an “8″ on it — I never thought about the numbers on subway cars and buses until R decided that the cars with 8′s were somehow special. Every train car we rode on today had an 8 on it (but not the bus, sadly).

Picture of the number on a train car.

Our first train car of the day, featuring an “8″

We rode on the Red Line to Broadway, and then we got off and caught the 11 bus. This was exciting because neither of us had ever caught a bus at Broadway before so we had to figure out where to wait, and then we got to see a number of exciting buses pass. R knew where they all went. We took the 11 to Chinatown, getting our “C” and then we took the Orange Line to Downtown Crossing, hitting the “D.” There stopped and went to the Food Court to use the bathroom and have an early lunch. We walked back to the Downtown Crossing station and walked through the Winter Street concourse to Park Street (which I decided wouldn’t violate our alphabetical rule) and caught the Green D Line.

Stopped at Broadway

Stopped at Broadway

We rode the D line through Brookline, where we got to see the train yards at Riverside, and through the wilds of Newton to Eliot Station, hitting “E”. We then crossed the tracks and waited for the inbound D line, which we took to Fenway Station, our “F”.

Working train at train yards near Riverside

Working train at train yards near Riverside

A picture of woods through a train window

The wilds of Newton, through the window of the D line

Eliot Station

Eliot Station

From Fenway, we walked to Kenmore Square. I got to show R my old stomping grounds at BU where I went to graduate school, the Citgo sign, and Fenway Park. It was well worth the walk, and we caught another Green Line train to Government Center (“G”) and then got off and took a train going the opposite way to Hynes Convention Center (“H”). By the time we got to Hynes, I was exhausted and ready to be done with the trip. It was a natural stopping place, since there is no subway stop that starts with an “I.” For that, we’ll use the commuter rail.

Hynes Convention Center, at last

Hynes Convention Center, at last

Of course, we still had to get home, so we turned around again, and rode to Park Street and caught the Red Line back to Alewife. We left at about 9am and got home at about 2pm, so the whole trip took about 5 hours. We talked a lot about buses while we were traveling, and I found out that if I gave him a number, chances are that R could tell me where that bus went and how frequent it was.

We had a great time, and it was well worth the $6 or so that I spent in fares. We were in 10 distinct stations and caught eight trains and one bus. We rode Green, Red, and Orange subway trains and sat in the back in six of the trains and in the front in two trains. I’ve already started thinking about our next trip, but I think I’ll need a bit of time to recover from this one.

About Angela

Angela is an associate professor of mathematics and enjoys writing, reading, and talking to people about her bike. She's the proud mother of two cute kids, H and R.
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4 Responses to Alphabetical MBTA Trip, Part I: A through H

  1. Years ago, we were part of the MBTA Fan Club with a group of 3-6 year-olds. They’ve since outgrown the fascination, but we took many memorable trips- to the Watertown Yard, the Mattapan line, out to City Point. Terminals were always exciting. I love R’s stories- reminds me of the fun we had going nowhere in particular, just exploring. I assume he knows the Charlie on the MBTA story?

  2. mary says:

    love this post! used to live in NYC and ride the subway all day with my toddler, he couldn’t get enough. in summer it’s A/C, in winter it’s warm, always it’s thrilling and we would just maximize the number of connections… we would sing the opening melody of Bad Romance (the “ra-ra-ro-ma-ma” part) “down-town num-ber 2, up-town number 3, B train to the C, we ride the sub-way…”

  3. Chris Hagar says:

    Now you have to try it backwards: stations that begin with ZYXW…

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