Kendall/MIT station

Coordinates: 42°21′44″N 71°05′10″W / 42.3623°N 71.0862°W / 42.3623; -71.0862
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Outbound platform at Kendall MIT station, December 2014.jpg
Outbound platform with historic timeline and images from nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology
General information
LocationMain Street at Broadway
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°21′44″N 71°05′10″W / 42.3623°N 71.0862°W / 42.3623; -71.0862
Line(s)Cambridge Tunnel
Platforms2 side platforms
ConnectionsBus transport MBTA bus: CT2, 64, 68, 85
Bus transport EZRide
Bicycle facilities58 spaces
OpenedMarch 23, 1912[1]
FY201917,018 (weekday average boardings)[2]
Preceding station MBTA.svg MBTA Following station
toward Alewife
Red Line Charles/MGH
toward Ashmont or Braintree

Kendall/MIT station (signed as Kendall) is an underground rapid transit station in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It serves the MBTA Red Line, Located at the intersection of Main Street and Broadway, it is named for the primary areas it serves - the Kendall Square business district and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Opened in March 1912 as part of the original Cambridge subway, Kendall/MIT has two side platforms serving the line's two tracks. The Kendall Band, a public art installation of hand-operated musical sculptures, is located between the tracks in the station with controls located on the platforms. Kendall/MIT station is accessible. With 17,018 weekday boardings by a FY2019 count, Kendall/MIT has the fourth highest ridership among MBTA subway stations.[2]


The outbound headhouse in 1912

The Cambridge subway opened from Park Street Under to Harvard on March 23, 1912, with intermediate stops at Central and Kendall.[1] From the early 20th century through the 1970s, the MBTA operated a powerhouse above ground in Kendall Square, including rotary converters (also called cycloconverters) to transform incoming AC electrical power to 600 volts DC power fed to the third rail to run the subway. An old-fashioned cycloconverter consisted of an AC motor coupled to a huge, slowly rotating flywheel coupled to a DC generator, hence the name. Despite the development of compact low-maintenance semiconductor-based power rectifiers, the long-obsolete electromechanical technology still occupied prime real estate in the heart of Kendall Square. The MBTA powerhouse was demolished, and replaced with an office building located at the convergence of Broadway and Main Street.[citation needed]

Name changes and reconstruction[edit]

New inbound headhouses near completion in December 2022

The MBTA renamed the station three times in a seven-year period. On August 7, 1978, the station was renamed as Kendall/MIT to indicate the nearby presence of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[1] On December 2, 1982, Columbia station was renamed JFK/UMass, and Kendall/MIT was renamed as Cambridge Center/MIT after the adjacent Cambridge Center development, although most station signs were not changed.[1] There were many complaints that the MBTA had suddenly changed the name without public input, and that the new name would be confused with the next Red Line station at Central Square.[3] On June 26, 1985, the name was reverted to Kendall/MIT as part of a series of station name changes.[4]

During the 1980s, the MBTA rebuilt Kendall/MIT and other Red Line stations with longer platforms for six-car trains and with elevators for accessibility. The rebuilt station was dedicated in October 1987 and six-car trains began operation on January 21, 1988.[5][1] Temporary artworks, including an entire fake cafe, were hosted at the station during the renovation as part of the Arts on the Line program.[6]

The main southbound headhouse is being reconstructed as part of the Kendall Square Initiative development project. The new headhouse will have two angled glass entrances and a pair of glass elevators, with an angular canopy supported on thin columns.[7] Utility work began in July–August 2020, with excavation beginning in October.[8][9] Part of the old headhouse was closed in November 2020 for construction of the interim headhouse.[10] The temporary southbound headhouse opened on January 22, 2022.[11][12] The permanent headhouse opened on February 11, 2023.[13]

The main northbound headhouse is also to be reconstructed as part of the adjacent 325 Main Street project.[14] The new glass headhouse will also have redundant elevators, and the roof will be part of an elevated public plaza.[15] As of February 2023, the MBTA expects headhouse reconstruction to begin in the second quarter of 2023.[13]

Kendall Band[edit]

Between 1986 and 1988, artist Paul Matisse installed Kendall Band, an interactive musical sculpture, at Kendall/MIT. Located between the Red Line tracks at the station, it cost $90,000 to construct under the Arts on the Line program.[16] It consists of three musical devices - Pythagoras, Kepler, and Galileo - controlled by levers located on both subway platforms.[5] Although Matisse maintained it for several decades, it ultimately fell into disrepair. A group of MIT students began restoration in 2010, with Pythagoras rendered partially functional in May 2011.[17]

Circumferential service[edit]

A twice-proposed commuter rail stop at Kendall Square would be located under the MIT Brain and Cognitive Science building; this location was also a proposed stop on the Urban Ring service.

Kendall/MIT was a proposed stop on the Urban Ring – a circumferential bus rapid transit (BRT) line designed to connect the existing radial MBTA rail lines to reduce overcrowding in the downtown stations.[18] Under draft plans released in 2008, new surface-level BRT platforms would have been constructed on Main Street at Kendall/MIT.[19] The project was cancelled in 2010[20]

In 2012, the state studied the feasibility of sending some Framingham/Worcester Line trains to North Station via the Grand Junction Railroad, including the possibility of a new commuter rail station at Kendall. The possible station would have consisted of a single platform between Main Street and Massachusetts Avenue, and was estimated to cost $7.5 million.[21] After objections from the City of Cambridge over potential traffic problems due to the grade crossings on the Grand Junction, the MBTA declined to pursue implementation of the proposed service. In 2014, it was revealed by the state that the stop would be part of the proposed Indigo Line system with frequent DMU service, but that plan was canceled in 2015 for financial reasons.[22][23]

A 2019 report indicated that daily boardings at the station would double to 30,000 by 2040, increasing the need for relief service on the Grand Junction and other corridors.[24]

Bus connections[edit]

CambridgeSide Galleria shuttle at Kendall/MIT in 2015

Four MBTA bus routes stop at Kendall/MIT using a traffic lane that loops from Broadway inbound to Main Street outbound; all except the CT2 terminate there.[25]

The EZRide Cambridge–North Station private shuttle service stops at Kendall at all times. Although not part of the MBTA system, it is open to the general public and is shown on MBTA maps.

The CambridgeSide Galleria provides a free shuttle bus from Kendall/MIT.[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e Belcher, Jonathan. "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). Boston Street Railway Association.
  2. ^ a b "A Guide to Ridership Data". MassDOT/MBTA Office of Performance Management and Innovation. June 22, 2020. p. 6.
  3. ^ "City Bitties". Harvard Crimson. March 19, 1985.
  4. ^ Crocket, Douglas S. (July 27, 1985). "T board votes to change the names of some stations". Boston Globe. p. 26 – via open access
  5. ^ a b Moskowitz, Eric (9 May 2010). "Grace notes from the underground". Boston Globe. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Artworks Brighten 'T' During Renovations". Harvard Crimson. October 14, 1986.
  7. ^ Perkins + Will / NADAAA (April 17, 2019). "Kendall Square - Inbound Station" (PDF). City of Cambridge.
  8. ^ "Construction Update July 24 - August 7". Kendall Square at MIT (Press release). July 23, 2020.
  9. ^ "Construction Update October 16 - October 30". Kendall Square at MIT (Press release). October 16, 2020.
  10. ^ "Construction Update November 13 - November 27". Kendall Square at MIT (Press release). November 13, 2020.
  11. ^ "Kendall Square Construction Update January 21 - February 4". Kendall Square at MIT (Press release). January 21, 2022.
  12. ^ Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority [@MBTA] (January 25, 2022). "Over the weekend, we opened the Red Line's new Kendall/MIT interim headhouse. The temporary entrance/exit for Ashmont/Braintree service will provide riders accessible connections while the old headhouse is rebuilt thanks to @MIT's transit-oriented development. #BuildingABetterT" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  13. ^ a b Gonneville, Jeffrey. "GM Report" (PDF). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. p. 14.
  14. ^ "325 Main Street". Cambridge Redevelopment Authority. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  15. ^ Pickard Chilton (January 7, 2019). "325 Main Schematic Design Review Resubmission" (PDF). Cambridge Redevelopment Authority. p. 83.
  16. ^ Daly, Gabriel J.; Velan, Sonam S. (7 December 2006). "T-Riders Ring the Sound of Science". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  17. ^ "Kendall Square T station music installation back in working order". Wicked Local Cambridge. Cambridge Chronicle. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013.
  18. ^ "Urban Ring Phase 2 Fact Sheet" (PDF). January 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 8, 2011.
  19. ^ "The Urban Ring Phase 2: Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report/Statement" (PDF). Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation. November 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 14, 2017.
  20. ^ Mullan, Jeffery B. (January 22, 2010). "Re: Urban Ring Phase 2, EOEEA #12565" (PDF). Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
  21. ^ Peterson, Scott A. (July 2012). "Grand Junction Transportation Feasibility Study" (PDF). Central Transportation Planning Staff. p. 72. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  22. ^ Annear, Steve (9 January 2014). "Take A Ride On The MBTA's 'New Indigo Line' In 2024". Boston Magazine. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  23. ^ Stout, Matt (20 June 2015). "Charlie Baker derails T trains". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on 27 July 2015.
  24. ^ Szaniszlo, Marie (July 10, 2019). "Red Line boardings at Kendall Square T stop to double by 2040, new report says". Boston Herald.
  25. ^ "Kendall/MIT Station Neighborhood Map" (PDF). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. July 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  26. ^ "Guest Services". Cambridgeside Galleria.

External links[edit]