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From the archives | Photo Gallery

The T and its predecessors

December, 1891: A photo submitted by Globe reader John C. Parsons of Dedham in 1964 showed a double-decked street car operated by the West End Railway Co., which ran from North Ave. Cambridge to North Stable, afterward known as the North Cambridge barn. The upper deck had a roof, but no sides. The West End Railway founded in 1887 was the preeminent street car system for the Greater Boston area. In 1897, the West End Railway was integrated into the Boston Elevated Railway.

The Boston Globe

December, 1891: A photo submitted by Globe reader John C. Parsons of Dedham in 1964 showed a double-decked street car operated by the West End Railway Co., which ran from North Ave. Cambridge to North Stable, afterward known as the North Cambridge barn. The upper deck had a roof, but no sides. The West End Railway founded in 1887 was the preeminent street car system for the Greater Boston area. In 1897, the West End Railway was integrated into the Boston Elevated Railway.

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 September 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.

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