This station sucks. Being stuck here for 4 and a half hours sucks. Sure, there was a nice reward in the end, as the title’s parenthetical remark suggests, but…this station still sucks.

Wow, that’s a lot of railfans!

Alright, let’s start with the outbound platform. Actually, I’m just about done talking about the outbound platform, since there’s nothing on it. Okay, okay, practically no one is going outbound from here, but it’s still just so barebones! How about at least a bench? The inbound side must’ve been closed at some point, because there also appears to be a temporary concrete platform in the middle of the tracks.

The inbound platform…can you find Jordan?

At least the inbound platform has some amenities, but they’re still pretty lame. The modern green shelter is okay, with benches, a map, and a schedule underneath, as well as some wastebaskets and newspaper boxes nearby. Along the rest of the low-level, unaccessable platform, though, there are only a few benches and an ugly bus shelter.

Well, there’s the bike rack!

Yeah, if you can’t tell, this station is located in an industrial wasteland. It is such an unpleasant place to wait at, with no regard for safety at all – passengers can walk right into the abandoned mess of materials if they so wish. The station has no bike parking, and only thirty parking spaces for cars that double as municipal parking! Good luck finding a space!

A pair of CSX engines coming through.
Being stuck at Ayer for hours means you get a lot of train pictures…

And of course, I have to talk about the Circus Train, the whole reason me and a whole bunch of other people came up here in the first place! The train carries around “The Greatest Show on Earth,” but the show is soon to end – the train is on its last legs. Pulling the diverse group of cars carrying passengers, vehicles, and animals were some beautiful FP9 locomotives from the 1950s!

Old meets new, kinda… 
The train has started to move!

There were four locomotives pulling the train.
A few of the many passenger cars.
That’s a lotta vehicles!
The end of the long train.

Station: Ayer

Ridership: For the Fitchburg Line, Ayer’s ridership is actually pretty good, with 435 inbound riders per weekday. The Fitchburg Line is one of the T’s best examples of why stations should be located in downtowns – this station has barely any parking, but it still gets a good amount of people!

Pros: Well, I rather like that modern green shelter on the inbound side. Also, it’s nice that the station is located right next to downtown Ayer, not that there’s much there. Oh, and I have to admit, it’s pretty cool that you can get from here alllllllll the way to Wachusett for only $2.75. What a steal!

Cons: Basically everything else. The station isn’t accessible, first of all, and it’s also a really unpleasant place to wait at. Everything to the south of it is industrial wasteland, there are no bike racks, and the rest of the amenities are abysmal!

Nearby and Noteworthy: Downtown Ayer is BORING. Trust me, I was here for four and a half hours!

Final Verdict: 3/10
I had my mind set on a 3 even before I was stuck here, so don’t think that influenced the score. Yeah, the circus train was really cool, but why couldn’t it have picked a more interesting station to run by? Oh well, at least we didn’t have to wait at Hastings!

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates