Welp, we’re headin’ out to northwestern suburbia now. Don’t let the hillbillies get you! But yes, Concord is actually one of the busiest stations on the Fitchburg Line, and it’s right near the center of town. This place has some great character, but also big flaws. Let’s take a look!
|Gosh, I’m such a sucker for character…
Why do the lovely station buildings always have to be on the outbound side? Yes, Concord’s outbound ridership is probably miniscule, but that side of the station does get a really great building. It even has a mural of (presumably) Walden Pond painted all along it! There’s a bench underneath the shelter of the building’s roof, too. As for inside, the old station is occupied by quite a few different businesses, from a fashion store to an optician!
|A different kind of building!
Strangely, though, the outbound side doesn’t have a wastebasket, which means litter can accumulate around the bench under the old building. However, this shortcoming is made up for with an ice cream shop further down the platform! I’m not an ice cream fan myself, (“Gasp” from the readers!) but the shop even has a door that leads out to the platform so you can rush out to a train if you have to.
And then there’s the inbound side. Where to begin? How about the cracked, decrepit asphalt along the whole thing? Or maybe the ugly green bus shelter that is the extent of the covering along the platform? Poor inbound riders…they deserve better than this.
There are a few parking lots in the immediate vicinity of Concord, and I’m not sure which ones are official and which ones aren’t. Indeed, the MBTA website says that it’s run by the town of Concord and is free, so it might be generic municipal parking. It’s not a lot, either, with 86 spaces, and if the parking’s municipal, then it must fill up fast. There are also 10 bike spaces here.
|An express train, having already whipped past the station!
Ridership: Well, this kinda puts a bad mark on the Fitchburg Line’s overall ridership – Concord is its third-busiest station after South Acton and Waltham, with 592 riders. The fact that it gets more ridership than Fitchburg is kinda sad, considering the sizes of the two towns (well, Fitchburg is a city, but I digress). Still, I guess lots of people commute from Concord to Boston, and many students use the station to get to and from nearby Concord Academy, so there’s that. But…Fitchburg has over double the population of Concord! Okay, I’m sorry, but this greatly confuses me.
Pros: There’s no denying that the place has character, especially on the outbound platform – that building is simply spectacular. But other than character (and ice cream) Concord really doesn’t offer much. I mean, the parking’s free, but I’m not sure if it’s explicitly station parking or just general use. Such a small lot would get filled up regardless of price, anyway.
Cons: For starters, the inbound platform is a mess. You know how this is one of the busiest stations on the Fitchburg Line? Well, I can’t imagine dozens of commuters trying to cram under that shoddy little bus shelter! Meanwhile, the outbound platform fills up with litter because it doesn’t have a wastebasket (the inbound side has multiple, for reference), and the whole station isn’t even accessible! Finally, the train has to spill out into two level crossings when stopped here, which is always annoying.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Concord is a really lovely town with lots of history. Concord Center is a short walk from the station, and it offers a great small-town feel. Even the little cluster of businesses near the station is worth checking out!
Final Verdict: 5/10
Sorry, Concord, but your beautiful building isn’t gonna save you this time. If the inbound side could get better shelter and some mini-high platforms in general, the rating would shoot up, but at the moment, this station is surprisingly barebones. Yes, it’s charming. Yes, it has ice cream. But it also has level crossings, dodgy parking, and no accessibility. No, thanks.
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