Friday, June 7, 2013

Wonderland

"Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or conversation?'

So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her..."

Oh, sorry, wrong Wonderland. I'm talking about the station, which was named after the Wonderland Amusement Park which closed in 1911. Then it became the Wonderland Greyhound Park which closed a few years ago. That doesn't make much sense, which makes me think they could've just named the station "Bath House," as it was called back when the Boston, Revere Beach, and Lynn Railroad ran through it, but that...um...doesn't make much sense either. But despite the questionable name, Wonderland is a very nice, very modern station at the end of the Blue Line.

Wonderland was redone in 1994 with some platform repair work in 2008, making it brand-new for MBTA standards. The station platforms are pretty standard, offering little more than some shelter. There are two platforms so two trains can be in the station at once, and the tracks just end a few hundred feet past the station. There are stairs from both platforms leading up to an area overlooking the tracks. From there, there are a few different exits, but they all seem to lead to nowhere (not that there's much around the station, anyway).

I'm not entirely sure why I took this picture, but here it is...
From this area, you can also access the busway. I know in my Alewife post I ranted about how the busway is a parking lot, and I docked some points off the final verdict because of the fact. The busway in Wonderland is a parking lot too, but it just feels...better. You can access it from the station via automatic sliding doors. It's very well-lit, receiving natural light as well as many lights lining the ceiling ("too many," my father says). There's a retro "Train Approaching" sign by the seating area that lights up when a train is coming. This is a major bus hub too, with 13 bus routes (two of them Key Bus Routes) serving points north, south, and west. However, three of them (the 424W, the 426W, and the 450W) only serve Wonderland on weekends, and the 439 (which is an amazing route) only has limited service there. The busway is actually located right next to the tracks, but is separated by a wall. I sort of wish you could see through the wall so you could watch the trains while waiting for your bus.

Being me, of course I wanted to take the elevator all the way up to the top of the parking lot. It's a good thing I did because it offers an amazing view of the ocean. You can also see the trains coming in, which is very interesting. For some reason, it's sandy up on the roof, so I guess that proves how strong the wind can get. It's definitely worth the look, and it can rival the views found at Wellington.

The closest landmark of note to Wonderland is probably Revere Beach. Wonderland is almost as close to Revere Beach as Revere Beach station, but Wonderland is in a less crowded area. That does mean you sacrifice some of the shops and public bathrooms around Revere Beach station, but it's still nice. However, to get to the beach currently, you have to cross a forlorn parking lot and the busy Ocean Avenue. It's a big hassle, but they are currently working on a small-scale model of the Zakim Bridge to connect the station to the beach. I think it's a really good idea, and it seemed close to being done when I visited the station in April. However, my father assumed the big fence blocking the bridge didn't matter, and attempted to go onto it. He got yelled at by a cop. But the bridge should be fantastic once it's done.

The view of a parking lot from the roof of the parking lot. The water looks nice, though.
Station: Wonderland

Ridership: Being a terminus, this is a commuter-heavy station. People could be coming in from Lynn, Salem, or maybe even farther. People could also be commuting by bus and changing to the Blue Line here. Maybe some people going to the beach, although people are more likely to use Revere Beach station.

Pros: It's a very nice, modern station. Bus service is aplenty, and the busway is great, surprisingly. The view from the parking lot is amazing. It's really great being able to take a subway to the beach (even if the beach in question isn't that great), and the new bridge will make that even better. The name of the station is pretty funny, too.

Cons: I guess I wish you could see the trains from the busway, although other people might not want that. Getting to the beach now is hard, but the bridge will change that. My only real con about Wonderland is the fact that there's nothing really close to it besides Revere Beach.

Nearby and Noteworthy: I personally think Revere Beach is a dirty and relatively dodgy beach, but it still makes for a nice summer day trip.

Final Verdict: 8 (soon to be 9)
I think right now, the difficulty of getting to Revere Beach is the biggest con. However, once the bridge is ready, it will be a lot easier and will raise this station's score to a 9. I love the modernity of Wonderland, and the only problem with it is the fact that there's nothing really near it. What I really wonder is if this station would still be as large if the Blue Line had gone all the way to Lynn as originally planned...

Latest MBTA News: My internet is being really weird right now, but I'll try to give you the news tomorrow morning if the MBTA website loads.

5 comments:

  1. I've been to Wonderland station and did some quick math in my head. The inefficient lighting is costing the T about $3000 per year in Wonderland alone!!!
    I've seen this inefficient lighting in almost every station as well as in the subway tunnels (which must always be lit). How much money is the T wasting? How much could be saved?
    Beverly Scott: give me a call sometime so I can tell you how to easily save the T about a million dollars in the next 10 years.

    Warmly,
    Miles' Dad

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, viewers? This is the sort of stuff I have to deal with all the time. However, I do agree, and think that if the MBTA saves money from the lights, buses won't be on the chopping block. If changing the lights saves the 439 bus, I think it's a good idea.

      Delete
  2. The bridge is finished! Oh and there are businesses and restaurants near the station. You should put the rating to a 10.

    ReplyDelete

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