“Miles, you don’t review Commuter Rail stations!” Well, I don’t usually, however I happened to be at Reading Station and I figured I’d write a review for it. And how did I end up in Reading? As usual, I had taken a bus for fun – the 137. I was going to just take the 136 back so I could do both buses in a single review (they follow very similar routes), but it turned out a Commuter Rail train was coming in 15 minutes. Since I take the Commuter Rail so rarely, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. So I left the bus behind and waited for the train at Reading Station.
|Nice view of the street and its Christmas wreaths (I was here a while ago). Keep in mind to “LOOK BEFORE CROSSING.”|
The station is essentially split into two parts. The majority of the platform is ground level and just concrete. There’s also a building on the platform that seems to have no useful purpose. There are some nice artifacts over here, too, specifically a Commuter Rail map that dates from around 2000. I don’t know why the MBTA still has it up, and as far as I remember it’s the only map in the station (someone correct me if I’m wrong). I feel it works here more than it does in, say, Park Street (where there are signs saying the E still goes to Arborway/Forest Hills) – I doubt Reading is likely to attract too many tourists.
|I just noticed, you can see a bus in the background.|
The second section of the station is a wooden high-level platform. This is where passengers are required to wait to get on the train, and there were a fair amount that accumulated over time. When I first got there, there was no one except for a large group of swaggering guys shouting loudly to one another. As time went on, however, more people came to the station. There’s an interesting sign at the bottom of the stairs to the platform – it looks like it says “Will Not Cleap Man on Side of Car,” but I believe it actually says “Will Not Clear Man on Side of Car,” which…doesn’t make any sense, either.
|I’m surprised I noticed it; it’s not very apparent.|
When the train came, I was excited to see that it was double-decker. The conductor was trying to get people to go into the back car, which had no one in it. It was also a single-decker car, so of course I opted for the more crowded one, on the top deck, of course. The stations are very close going down into Wakefield and Melrose. What I like is that they’re designated as “flag stops,” so if nobody wants to get on or off, the train skips right through them. It was dark by the time we got to North Station, but I really enjoyed the ride despite not being able to see anything in the night.
|The platform, empty when the picture was taken. Note the pay phone – I wonder if anyone uses it?|
"Will not clear man on side of car" refers to the practice of railroad worker riding on the sides of cars in yards. The reason high platforms are not allowed in places like California is because state laws prohibit anything above a very low height from coming closer than 2 feet to the train. Around here, that's more generally acceptable, but they do have to post the warning apparently.
Oh, okay. Thanks a lot for the information!
The parking lot fills up by 745 or so, which to me is not ample. Also can you add more about the history of the lines? Thanks!
How did you not mention the useless 2nd platform for the nonexistent track 2?
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I really can’t get over the fact that so many Haverhill Line trains actually TERMINATE here, despite having only one track and level crossings on both sides. The line from here to Boston is served by the 137 anyway, while there is no continuous bus route that serves the northern portion of the line. This means that the Reading short turns is taking service away from Andover, Lawrence, and Haverhill that have no viable alternative. The Haverhill Line is also the only commuter rail line that doesn’t have clockface service… departure times are all over the place!