This is one of those Commuter Rail stations that just begs the question: how? How can a station be this badly designed? Ballardvale is truly an enigma!


Okay, Ballardvale clearly used to be two tracks, because the platform is abnormally wide. It’s just this weird long low-level thing with a random curb in the middle of it. There’s a shelter closer to the station’s entrance, but it’s wooden and dingy. There are also a few wastebaskets, ads, and a broken payphone. As far as car parking goes, there are 115 spaces in a lot next to the station.

Yup…that’s our mini-high.

The mini-high platform is so far down that trains don’t even bother to stop there! I can’t imagine the chaos that would ensue of someone actually needed to use it! The platform itself is really wide, since they had to build an extension over the nonexistent second track, but barely any of it is sheltered, and there aren’t benches up there. Also, the extension portion feels like it’s going to collapse at any moment – that’s always great.

At least the snow is scenic…

Station: Ballardvale

Ridership: Ballardvale is one of the lesser-used stations on the Haverhill Line, which in itself is a line with low ridership. Yup, this place gets just 259 inbound riders per weekday. Not great.

Pros: Hmm…well, it exists. It has parking. It’s technically accessible…I guess.

Cons: Look at it! We’re dealing with this really wide platform that has a strange curb that runs along it (and the outer half of it eventually gets replaced by abyss as you get closer to the mini-high), a useless mini-high platform that trains don’t even stop at, and a really dingy wooden shelter. WHAT’S NOT TO HATE?!?!?!?!?

Nearby and Noteworthy: There are some TOD apartments next to the station, but as far as businesses go, there isn’t much. You’ve got a pizza place, a convenience store, and a café…huh, well, those are better offerings than your typical Old Colony station, though!

Final Verdict: 2/10
Ballardvale does almost nothing right. In fact, does it do anything right? It seems like every decision made for this station was terrible! I guess the only thing keeping it from a 1 is that it’s sortaaaaaa functional, a little, maybe? Ech.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates