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Subway Nearing Completion

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Work on the three Cambridge divisions of the subway was completed on January 21 and it now it only remains to finish the stations and completed on the equipment, such as laying the conduits for the third rail system. On January 23 a party with 11 automobiles went through the entire length of the subway from the West Boston bridge to the Murray street yards of the Elevated Company beyond Harvard square. The floors of the two tubes have been cleared and are now ready for the tracks. These will be laid at once and it is hoped that the electrification will be completed during the summer. However, the cars cannot be run in the Cambridge division until the Transit Commission has finished the Beacon Hill tunnel now under construction. The Elevated Company, which is doing the Cambridge work, anticipate that their division will be completed well in advance of the other section, probably some time in the early fall. At that time that surface cars will be moved back to Massachusetts avenue from Mount Auburn street.

There are to be three stations in Cambridge: at Kendall, Central, and Harvard squares. The first of these will be the largest, with eight sets of stairs from the street to the tracks. All three stations will be free transfer points from surface cars. Except for a few hundred feet to the west of Harvard square, the subway will consist of two tubes 16 feet high and 25 feet broad, situated on different levels as in the case of the Washington street tunnel, the out bound track to be the higher.

The Cambridge route has several features which none of the Boston subways posses. The most notable among them is a series of emergency exits. These are provided at every 1000 feet and furnish an easy way for people to find their way to the street in the case of emergency. Each of them is also to be used for ventilating purposes. Another innovation in subway construction is a system of underground sidewalks connected with the tunnel but outside the entrance gates at the Central square station. These sidewalks extend for about 350 feet on each side of the station. At Harvard square the walls at the point where the surface cars go down into the subway have been constructed of brick and sandstone in keeping with the walls about the University grounds. There are three exits for cars at the western end of the subway, one opposite Holden Chapel for cars bound north, one just east of Brattle Hall for cars for Newton and Mount Auburn, and a large exit into the yard at Eliot square. All three branches unite in the middle of Harvard square and the two tubes run east along Massachusetts avenue.

In the construction of the subway more than half a million cubic yards of material have been excavated. In the concrete construction 200,000 cubic yards of cement, 350,000 tons of crushed stone, and 7,000 tons of steel have been used between the bridge and the Murray street yards. The largest number of men employed on the work at any one time was 4,000, the average force being about 2,500.

As the course of the subway from the bridge to Harvard square has very few curves, it is possible to run at practically railroad speed for the whole distance. The running time between Harvard square and Park street has been set at eight minutes and it is possible that this will be reduced to seven when the cars are started.

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