Thursday, July 20, 2017

Westborough

Westborough, Westborough, Westborough...it's a modern Commuter Rail station with a ridiculously high footbridge. That's about its only notable feature...

Yup, that's a huge footbridge.
Westborough has a sizeable lot, with 448 spaces, but according to this page, the lot fills up pretty early on in the day. There are also some bike spaces - the T's website claims 4, and unfortunately I don't have any pictures to confirm, but there were definitely more than 4 bikes when I was here. Up by the station, there are some newspaper boxes and old honor boxes.

The station...from above.
Most of the platform is low-level, and it's what you would expect from any modern Commuter Rail station. There are shelters on each side, even though I can't imagine many people going outbound from here, and other than that, it's mostly just benches and signs. The big wall on the outbound side is interesting, to say the least.

The outbound mini-high platform.
The station's mini-highs are also standard. They're sheltered, and they have benches, maps, schedules, wastebaskets, and signage. One annoying aspect of Westborough is the siren that's supposed to go off whenever a train is coming in - when we were here, it went off all the time, regardless of whether there was a train or not.

Somewhere in the bowels of the footbridge.
I honestly have no idea why Westborough's footbridge is so high, but it is. It's definitely a notable part of the station - long ramps curve around and around to get up to the top, passing through little mezzanines with benches in them. Luckily, there are also stairs. Of course, we can't forget that the footbridge is showing its age, with a lot of rust. This place is only 15 years old!
UPDATE: Thanks to Skull for commenting - the bridge was built this tall to allow double-stack freight containers to pass through towards Beacon Park Yard, which is now closed.

A train coming in.
Station: Westborough

Ridership: This is only the sixth-best station on the Worcester Line in terms of ridership, but it's the Worcester Line, so Westborough still gets a bunch of people: 759 inbound riders each weekday. You can imagine that the 448-space lot may not be enough to hold them all...

Pros: Westborough has all those classic amenities of any modern Commuter Rail station. It's accessible, there's plenty of shelter, and the station has lots of seating. And the footbridge, for all its problems (which we'll get to), is at least very unique.

Cons: Yeah, but everything else about the footbridge is pretty bad. Why is it so high? How is it rusting so much, so quickly? It seems like it would be an absolute pain to have to use it every day. Also, the parking doesn't seem sufficient, and that's including the fact that they expanded the lot in 2006. Additionally, the tracks pass right through Westborough Center, but no, of course there can't be a station there. Finally, there's that incessant siren that never seems to shut up.

Nearby and Noteworthy: There are some shopping centers north of the station, but they're a mile away and it's not a pedestrian-friendly walk. Oh, also, there's this:
It seems to be part of some office park, but I have no idea what it could possibly be used for or what its significance could be. But it definitely stands out!
UPDATE: See Adam Gaffin's comment for a truly brilliant explanation of the former company that occupied this office park. It was an insane place!

Final Verdict: 5/10
Westborough basically gives you everything you would expect from a modern Commuter Rail station, but slightly worse. The parking seems to be insufficient, the siren is just never-ending, and the footbridge, although it's unique, is slowly falling apart and really high up. Sure, there are a lot of "fine" things about Westborough, but it has some substantial problems that drag it down.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

4 comments:

  1. Miles : It was designed to allow full double stack containers into and out of the NOW CLOSED, Beacon Park Yard.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That was the AstraZeneca pyramid. AstraZeneca started as (and maybe still is?) a Swedish drug company that picked Westborough for its US headquarters, but shut its Westborough facilities a couple of years ago. In the early days of the AIDS crisis, the company made a drug to treat a particular type of blindness AIDS patients would sometimes get. AIDS activists thought it was too expensive, so one day to protest, they used markers to make "eye balls" out of thousands of ping-pong balls, which they hauled out to the pyramid and then started throwing at it. I was there as a reporter and had one of those rattling around in my car for years. The executive who came up with the idea of a pyramid later ran into a bit of trouble http://www.cbsnews.com/news/astra-boss-hit-with-7m-fine-for-sex-harassment-reps-share-memories-of-bonkers-ceo/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment is absolutely incredible. Wow, that company sounds INSANE!

      Delete

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