When the MBTA was upgrading the Fairmount Line, Talbot Ave was the first new station to open, in late 2012. And, uh, I realized that I’ve been really harsh on the Fairmount Line stations I’ve reviewed so far. Yes, the line itself isn’t the greatest, but the stations really aren’t quite as bad as I’ve say they are. So, with that in mind, let’s look at Talbot Ave.

The station platform.

The main part of Talbot Ave’s platform is pretty standard Fairmount Line fare, but I like it. There’s a large shelter that runs along the southern part of the station, and underneath it, you’ve got benches and wastebaskets. Plus, many of the station signs have cool historical pictures of the area.

The other end of the platform, as well as a train in the background!

However, unlike most Commuter Rail stations, the rest of Talbot Ave’s platform is not bare! It has a few shelters along the whole thing, which is pretty nice and makes the station seem more hospitable. Indeed, the whole place is rather tranquil…until you see the broken glass in the shelters and remember what kind of neighborhood you’re in.

The station drop-off area.

One of my favorite parts of Talbot Ave is at the entrance to the inbound platform along its namesake street. That’s right, the station actually has a drop-off area and a parking lot! Okay, so “parking lot” means two spaces that are for people with disabilities only, but it’s still really nice to see in the middle of such a dense area. There are also some bike racks here, and then a long but mostly sheltered ramp up to the platform.

Well, this is convoluted…

Meanwhile, the outbound side has another crazy ramp that twists and turns on itself a few times before finally making it up to the platform. Like other Fairmount Line stations, I really wish there was a convenient set of stairs, too. Talbot Ave (the street, that is) is where this station’s bus connection is – the 22 gets a shelter on the inbound direction and a bench heading outbound.

The Standish Street entrance, featuring some graffiti.

Finally, Talbot Ave has two additional entrances on its northern side, one on each platform, that lead to quieter residential neighborhoods. They’re both pretty simple, with T logos and signs at each one. plus some more bike racks on the Norwell Street side. However, there’s no way to cross between platforms here, so you have to go around the whole station if you’re trying to get a train in the other direction.

Two trains meeting!
Heading towards Boston.

Station: Talbot Ave

Ridership: Well, in 2013, this station got an average of only 82 inbound riders per weekday, but I do hope that number’s gone up since then. I mean…it’s the Fairmount Line, so it’s hard to have high ridership expectations.

Pros: The station certainly tries to look and feel pleasant, and for the most part it succeeds. It’s weird that it manages to be as tranquil as it is, considering it’s not in the safest neighborhood. Also, Talbot Ave has a good amount of bike spaces, and even a few automobile spaces, which is a great inclusion. Finally, the platform offers shelter and seating the whole way down.

Cons: The broken glass all over the place is definitely an indication of what kind of area the station is located in. Aside from that, it would be great if there was a way to connect between the two northern entrances. Perhaps a pedestrian tunnel? Although I imagine that would be more expensive than it’s worth. Finally, the ramps down to Talbot Ave itself are really long…stair alternatives would be nice, although again, cost could be an issue there.

Nearby and Noteworthy: The surroundings of this station are mostly residential, so there isn’t much to see. It’s not the best neighborhood, anyway…

Final Verdict: 6/10
Okay, in terms of the station itself, the only problems are the ramps and the lack of a connection between the northern entrances. So what lowers it down to a 6? Well, the broken glass is ugly, dangerous, and could put people waiting on edge. Plus, there’s the fact that Talbot Ave just deserves to have rapid transit service, as does the rest of the Fairmount Line. I wish I was reviewing an “Indigo Line” station right now!

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