Alright, we’re moving north to the middle of the three Needham Commuter Rail stations (or at least the ones with “Needham” in their name – sorry, Hersey). Nestled right in downtown Needham, Needham Center may not be tranquil like its southern counterpart, Needham Junction, but it certainly has a very local feel. Let’s start on the southern end…

This was the first thing we came across.

I was with my friend Noah, and the first thing we saw when we came into the station was a public piano just sitting there. Of course this was our cue to sit down and start playing a Heart and Soul duet. The piano was a little out of tune, but it was really cool that it was there. I’m not here to review musical instruments, though, so let’s keep going.

Looking down the platform.

There are a few businesses right on the platform, which is awesome – a tailor and a cafe, housed in what was apparently the old station building. Along the platform, there are a few pedestrian crossings that lead to a parking lot (apparently not an official MBTA lot, but a lot nonetheless). No shelter is offered along the bulk of the platform, unfortunately.

A picture from platform level of the high-level portion.

Like the other Needham Line stations, you have to board the train at a high-level platform at the end of the station. The nice thing about Needham Center is that there are benches all along the platform, so the walk to the high-level portion really isn’t that bad. Unfortunately, the boarding area is the only place that offers any shelter, and it really isn’t much. Maybe people can wait in the café if it’s raining?

A train shrinking into the trees.

Station: Needham Center

Ridership: With an average of 975 riders per weekday, this is the second most-used station on the Needham Line. I’m not sure if people drive to this station, since I don’t know how the parking here works exactly, but there are some reasonably dense residential neighborhoods in walking distance.

Pros: It’s right in the middle of Needham Center, which is a big plus. Also, there are lots of benches along the platform, meaning you can wait pretty close to the boarding area. Plus, the station has businesses right on its platform, and the piano is a great touch.

Cons: There isn’t any shelter along the platform, so I’m not really sure where people go when it rains. Also, there’s no official MBTA parking, but I assume you can still use the city lot, right?

Nearby and Noteworthy: Needham Center has lots of businesses, but of course, I don’t have any specific places. The Center Cafe is right on the platform if you need a quick bite.

Final Verdict: 8/10
There’s a lot to like here. It’s great that there are benches all along the platform, even if they’re not sheltered. Also, this is the second time I’ve seen businesses right on a Commuter Rail platform, and it’s still amazing. Oh, and the piano? That’s probably the best part of this station, to be honest.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates