Mattapan Trolley Type 4 Car 5286 is shown on the loop at the Peabody Square end of Ashmont Station as it looked on October 20, 1936. Photo by James A. Parsons, 4 Westmoreland Street, Dorchester.
The family of James A. Parsons donated his photo albums of the Ashmont-Mattapan line to the Dorchester Historical Society. The following is from notes in his albums.
The Ashmont – Mattapan Line
by James A. Parsons, 4 Westmoreland Street, Dorchester, MA, 1976
The Ashmont-Mattapan line, considered an extension of the Harvard to Ashmont “red Line: Rapid Transit route, is one of America’s most unique trolley car lines. No fare is required if you board a trolley at Ashmont outbound towards Mattapan or an any station inbound from Mattapan to Ashmont Station. However, if you board at any stop on the outbound run or get off at any of the stops before Ashmont after leaving Mattapan, the fare is 25 cents.
Originally the Dorchester and Milton Branch Railroad, the line was acquired by the Old Colony Railroad, later taken over by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. Part of the “Red Line,” this stretch of track opened for trolley travel in 1930 as the “Hi-Speed” Line using heavy Type #4 street cars. In the late 1940s smaller Type #5 cars were put into service for a short time, followed by the earlier types of PCC cars, which ran for several years. Since 1960 the line has been served solely by 1945 vintage double end PCC cars purchased from Dallas, Texas, in 1959.
Another note of interest is that according to “Believe It or Not” Ripley, this is the only street car line in the world that runs directly through a cemetery (Cedar Grove in Dorchester).
While it is only a ten-minute ride, in my estimation this is one of the most interesting and picturesque trolley lines operating in the United States of America.
the following notes are undated
Most of cars are ex-Dallas double ended PCC’s, now operating single ended.
During the spring of 1978 the ex-Dallas cars housed at the Arborway Carhouse were transferred via motor truck trailers to the Mattapan Yard for service on the busy “Mattapan-Ashmont” Line.
These cars were still double enders because they saw most of their service on the Brigham Circle to Park Street via Huntington Avenue or Northeastern to Park Station and return, with the only loop located at Park Street. These lines are part of the “Green Line” Trolley System, and the cars were painted green accordingly. The Mattapan-Ashmont Line is considered an extension of the Red Line, and the cars in service were painted red during the summer of 1977.
The Green Line cars transferred to Mattapan are numbered 332, 3323, 3324, 3325, 3327, 3328 and 3329. Car 3326 is still at the Arborway but painted yellow and black, in use as a Sand Car.