Pleasant Street Incline

Pleasant Street Incline

The Pleasant Street Incline or Pleasant Street Portal was the southern access point for the Tremont Street Subway in Boston, Massachusetts, which later became part of the Green Line (but not until after the incline was closed).


One month after the original opening of the Tremont Street Subway, the Pleasant Street Incline opened on October 1, 1897, allowing more streetcar lines to operate via the subway. The new tunnel put in service stretched from the outer tracks at Boylston south under Tremont Street, with a four-track portal in the triangle bounded by Tremont Street, Pleasant Street (later part of Broadway) and Shawmut Avenue . Until near its south end, the tunnel carried only two tracks. A flying junction near the portal split it into four tracks, with the northbound west track going over the southbound east track. Thus the track configuration at the portal allowed two separate lines to split without any crossings. The two west tracks continued down Tremont Street, while the east tracks turned east on Pleasant Street and went to City Point in South Boston via Broadway.

On June 10, 1901, all streetcar service through the portal stopped, as the Washington Street Elevated (later part of the Orange Line) was connected to the two outermost tracks. El trains came out of the portal, with a center island platform in an open cut, passed under Pleasant Street, and then rose onto an elevated structure. Many surface streetcar lines were truncated to Dudley, the south end of the new El.

The Washington Street Tunnel opened on November 30, 1908, and streetcars were returned to the Pleasant Street Incline by their old routes.

On March 2, 1953, the City Point line was replaced by the 9 bus route. The tracks to Tremont Street, formerly connected to the west tracks of the portal, were realigned to the east tracks, allowing a bus transfer station to be built where the west tracks had been. The Tremont Street line was bustituted as the 43 route on November 20, 1961, and a shuttle started operation between the portal and Boylston, with transfer there to through subway cars. This shuttle was short-lived, ending operation on April 6, 1962, the end of all operation through the Pleasant Street Portal. The portal has since been covered over by Elliot Norton Park (at the intersection of Tremont Street, Shawmut Avenue, and Oak Street West), and no above-ground traces remain.

Plans for the Silver Line include using part of the tunnel to this portal, but disconnecting it at either end.


*Various Sanborn maps
*rtspcc, [ Questions about history of the Boston subways/els] , ne.transportation May 2-3, 2005
* [ NETransit: 100 Years of the Tremont Street Subway]
* [ Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA District 1964-present] (PDF)

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