Why is my last ever Commuter Rail station review of Holbrook/Randolph, a station that’s less than 15 miles from Boston, gets served by every single Middleborough/Lakeville Line train, and has connections to two, count ’em, two local bus routes? The world may never know…
Now, it should be noted that I visited Holbrook/Randolph a while ago…but I somehow lost the photos. Luckily this realization timed with Thanksgiving Break, so here we are! Also, shoutout to Adonis, who commented on the Foxboro post: “Can you do Holbrook/Randolph soon? Please! After all, it’s the freaking last station missing from MBTA commuter rail. ” Thank you for the strongly-worded request, Adonis – this one’s for you.
This platform is as Old Colony as Old Colony gets. It’s a single track station with one high-level platform, complete with several benches and wastebaskets underneath some classically drab 90s shelters. The station is long as heck, and alas, the train information isn’t all concentrated in one place: the southern shelter gets the system map, while the northern shelter gets the schedule. Also, it’s as good a time as any to mention that all the signs say “Randolph/Holbrook”, and that is the most infuriating thing in the world.
An Old Colony station with a big parking lot? Wow, what a shocker. You’ve got a total of 362 spaces here, contained in a large lot to the east of the station and a smaller one to the west. It’s the classic daily fee of $4, with a weekend cost of $2. Parking seems to generally be available; on Black Friday, there was barely anyone there, but that was to be expected.
The superior bike facilities are to the east of the station, with six covered racks. The western side does get four racks, but they’re out in the open. Also, this station is home to one of those solar-powered trash things that have been cropping up recently. I think eventually the solar power will serve to power lights for an ad that will occupy the glass space in the middle? I dunno – they’re strange.
Holbrook/Randolph’s western side is below platform level, so several sets of stairs and a ramp lead up to it. After a train leaves, a congregation of people always have to wait at the level crossing across the tracks for it to go completely. Unfortunately, they have to wait a little longer than they normally would – while the level crossing on Union Street doesn’t activate when a train is at the station, they have to come to a stop after leaving to let the gates come down. That’s so annoying!
The westerly side of the station offers more parking, but also a busway for Holbrook/Randolph’s two weekday-only bus connections. The 238 runs to Quincy Center, while the 240 goes to Ashmont – neither route gets particularly high ridership from here, but it’s not nothing, either. A shelter offers a place to wait for both buses and pickups, and it includes schedules for the 238, the 240, and…the 230. Sure, why not?
Ridership: Huh, the MBTA has this funky new Blue Book-ish thing that’s way harder to search through than the actual Blue Book. Regardless, you can get some nice data from here if you can figure out how to find it, and thus, we find out that Holbrook/Randolph commands a respectable 437 inbound riders per day, the vast majority of which is concentrated in the AM peak. Also…36 daily outbound riders! Nice!
Pros: It’s an Old Colony station, so it excels in everything those stations excel at: it has a high-level platform and lots of parking. The station isn’t in the middle of nowhere, though, giving it an edge over other Old Colony stations – there are a few businesses right there, and it’s as close as a station could be to the downtowns of both Holbrook and Randolph.
Cons: Lots of little concerns: the platform has that drab aesthetic that these stations seem to have; buses here only operate on weekdays; trains have to stop at the level crossing before it comes down; and the darn signs all say “Randolph/Holbrook”!!!
Nearby and Noteworthy: There’s a bowling alley within half a mile of this station! It’s just a ten-minute walk down Union Street to the aptly-named Union Street Lanes, where you can get your candlepin bowling fix for super cheap prices. Incidentally, I thought candlepin bowling was just how everyone does it, until I came to Philly and tried regular bowling for the first time…candlepin is so much better!
Final Verdict: 6/10
Our final Commuter Rail station goes out with a bit of a “meh”. It has all your Old Colony hallmarks, but a number of problems bring it down to a 6. Gosh, it felt so amazing to finish off the entire MBTA subway system with the grandiose South Station…it’s a lot harder to get excited for this one!
Nonetheless, almost seven years after beginning the quest, I can finally say that I have finished reviewing the entire MBTA system on this blog. Sure, there’ll be some new stuff in the future (indeed, the very near future – can’t wait to analyze the Better Bus changes once their schedules come out!), but for now, I can say I’ve done everything. Thank you to everyone who’s followed along, from those who were there from the start (the “Miles on the MBTA” era) to people who have started reading recently. There’s lots more in store on this blog, from finishing every bus route in Massachusetts, to reviewing all of SEPTA in Philly, to making videos about weird Greyhound trips. Thanks again for sticking with me this far.
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