The trolleys that rolled out of Worcester’s Pullman-Standard factory in 1944 and 1945 are still rolling, seven decades later, along Boston’s most scenic commute. Traveling from Ashmont Station in Dorchester to Mattapan, they cross through Milton woods frequented by deer, coyotes, and all manner of birds. The 2.6-mile journey, cutting across Cedar Grove Cemetery and running parallel to the colorful murals of the Neponset River Greenway, is over in 10 minutes. The cars of the Mattapan-Ashmont high-speed line — named not for blazing speed, but for the dedicated right-of-way intersected only twice by city streets — have a history that dates back even further than their seven decades of service, says transportation historian Bradley H. Clarke. They were designed early in the Great Depression by the Electric Railway Presidents Conference Committee, a group formed to create trolleys that would serve cities across the nation. Of the 346 PCC cars originally purchased for various Boston lines, 10 are left, all of them plying this route. “They are the oldest cars in the entire MBTA system,” Clarke says.
— By Lane Turner/Globe Staff
A trolley passes one of many murals on the Neponset River Greenway, which runs alongside much of the route of the Mattapan High Speed Line.
(Lane Turner/Globe Staff)