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From the archives | Photo Gallery

The T and its predecessors

A profusion of private railroads and horse-drawn streetcar companies served the transportation needs of Boston and outlying towns for decades before the MBTA accepted its first token. Downtown congestion by the end of the 19th century necessitated the country’s first subway, and what would become the Green Line opened on Sept. 1, 1897.  Elevated lines were operating as well, and what would become the Orange Line began operation in 1901, and would remain above Washington Street for 86 years. Final consolidation of private transit services began with the creation of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1947, later expanded and renamed the now-familiar MBTA in 1964. — Lane Turner and Lisa Tuite

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