The missing link between North and South stations is a legacy of 19th century capitalism in Boston. The two stations were built by different private entrepreneurs who stopped short of a “handshake” in the middle of the way. To this day the missing link represents a break in the railroad infrastructure that serves the Northeast Corridor Rail Network. This study was undertaken to explore the physical and technical feasibility of creating a new underground rail line through the center of Boston.
South Station is the “hub” of the “hub”; the terminus of major rail traffic into Boston from New York, Washington and points in between. North Station receives commuter and regional long distance traffic from northern New England. The master plan proposes a new tunnel deep below the maze of historic Boston streets; deep enough to avoid the “Big Dig” highway tunnel, building foundations and century’s old utility structures. DHK’s role as the Architect and Urban Designer was to design three stations. In addition to being over 100 feet underground, these stations would have very high passenger volumes with 21,000 passengers entering or exiting the busiest station in an hour.
The preliminary designs developed by DHK respond to the complex web of urban issues created by Boston’s unique geography and history. They also address the psychological and technical issues associated with the movement and safety of large crowds deep below ground.