Two stations half a mile apart…on the Commuter Rail? That’s rare on the Red Line, let alone the MBTA’s regional rail service. And yet, despite being so close together, Wedgemere still holds its own against its neighbor, Winchester Center. Indeed, it’s a heck of a lot better!
|What an interesting facade!|
Wedgemere has an interesting compact exterior leading up to the platform. My friend Nathan and I came in first on the eastern side of the tracks (the outbound side), where there’s a small park with a path leading up to the station from Bacon Street. Well, “park” is a lose term – it’s more like an open field.
|Getting closer to the entrance.|
At the entrance to the station, there’s a set of stairs and a ramp leading up to the outbound platform. The ramps here are new, having been added to the station in February 2013 – it’s odd that Wedgemere was upgraded to be accessible but not Winchester Center, but it certainly makes this one a lot better. To get to the inbound side and parking, there’s a convenient pedestrian tunnel under the tracks (not in the best condition, but it’s fine).
|The entrance on the other side.|
On the other side of the station, there is car and bike parking – 119 spaces for the former, and an unspecified amount for the latter (but it’s a good amount). The entrance to this side of the station is surprisingly amenity-filled, with a wastebasket, some newspaper boxes, a mural, and machines to pay for parking! Also, all of the payment signage has the…BAT Centre in the corner? That’s about 30 miles away, guys…
|Up on the platform.|
Taking the stairs or the ramp (your pick) up to the platform, we see that a good amount of it is sheltered. Underneath the sheltered area, there’s your typical Commuter Rail fare, with benches, wastebaskets, and a few ads. There’s also a building on the inbound side, but it’s empty and decrepit. Apparently it housed a coffee shop until 2014, but I guess that’s gone. So now the building is just this rather ugly blemish on an otherwise-decent platform.
|The inbound mini-high platform.|
Wedgemere’s mini-highs are practically new, having been built in 2013 with the rest of the station upgrade. Thus, they still look great. Functionally they’re pretty standard mini-high platforms, with a ramp and a staircase leading up to each, and a single bench on both.
|The café car took a trip on the Lowell Line!|
Ridership: It’s the lowest-ridership full-service station on the Lowell Line, but Wedgemere still gets a decent 512 inbound riders per weekday. You also have to remember how ridiculously close it is to Winchester Center, which has a good amount of ridership itself. The two Winchester stations add up to just over 1,300 people per day – I guess Winchester has a lot of commuters!
Pros: With its recent renovation to make it accessible, Wedgemere is a great semi-modern station. It offers decent parking for the density of the area, a bunch of amenities, and well-sheltered platforms. I also love the updated signage here – it makes the stop feel like a rapid transit station!
Cons: It would be great to see some sort of business occupy that building, since it looks really decrepit at the moment. Maybe there’s not enough ridership to generate profit for such a business? There are a few other parts of the station that feel a little run-down, namely the pedestrian walkway and some of the staircases.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Just a buncha houses and a fairly generic park. Take the train one more stop for Winchester Center – that’s where all the good stuff is.
Final Verdict: 8/10
I still think it’s strange that the lesser-used, more suburban stop in Winchester received accessibility updates while the busy town center station was just left in the dust. Whatever the reason, it does mean that Wedgemere is quite superior to Winchester Center. Sure, it has a few small areas that could benefit from an update, but overall, this station is clean, well-signed, and a pleasant place to get the train.
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