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A ‘subtle’ but permanent change is coming to the Green Line this weekend

"It's subtle — unless you are the person whose terminal station is changed."

The MBTA Green Line Park Street stop on the weekday morning last December. David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe

Pay attention Green Line riders: Your next trip downtown may terminate a bit earlier — or later — than you expect.

The MBTA is switching up several Green Line branches’ downtown northern terminuses this Sunday, in order to allow the agency to begin testing on the planned Union Square branch of the Green Line Extension.

Beginning this Sunday, both B and C Line trolleys will terminate at Government Center Station, and D and E Line trolleys will terminate at North Station.

The new terminuses are permanent changes for the B and C lines. Currently, the B branch ends at Park Street, and C trains terminate at North Station.

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That means an earlier changeover or about a half-mile walk for C branch riders who currently take the line all the way to North Station. For riders on the B branch, their trolleys will go one stop farther, beginning Sunday. Officials hope that lengthening the B Line will provide better connectivity to the Blue Line and a better distribution of service through downtown Boston.

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak described it Thursday as a “relatively subtle change” and the only downstream impact of the new GLX testing on current Green Line service.

“It’s subtle — unless you are the person whose terminal station is changed,” Poftak said.

The new North Station terminus is a temporary one for the D Line, which currently stops at Government Center, as officials continue to work on the Green Line Extension. Officials have assigned the D Line to the GLX’s one-stop Union Square branch, which is now slated to open in March.

Until then, the MBTA will continue running shuttle buses between Lechmere and North Station on dedicated inbound and outbound bus-only lanes along Charles River Dam Road.

The Green Line’s E branch, which already terminates at North Station, has been assigned the GLX’s longer, five-stop branch through Somerville to Medford.

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The reason for the respective branch assignments is basically that the D and E branches both serve the Longwood medical area, and the D branch is much longer than the other Green Line branches, so officials gave it the shorter GLX leg. MBTA officials also say the large number of regional trips to the Longwood area make North Station’s commuter rail hub most important to the D and E lines.

The opening of the GLX’s Medford branch was postponed until May 2022 this past spring. However, officials cautioned that similar issues that postponed the Union Square branch’s opening until March could also push that date back as well.

However, Poftak said Thursday that “I have not abandoned all hope on that.”

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