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The branches were given letters in 1967, two years after the green color was assigned to the line on August 26, 1965.The letters were assigned increasing from north to south, to the five remaining branches.
With a daily weekday ridership of over 232,000 in 2015, it is the most heavily used light rail system in the country.
The streetcar system peaked in size around 1930 and was gradually replaced with trackless trolleys and buses, with cuts as late as 1985.
A new branch opened on a converted commuter rail line in 1959; the Green Line Extension project will add two new branches into Somerville and Medford in 2021.
The four branches are the remnants of a large streetcar system, which began in 1856 with the Cambridge Horse Railroad and was consolidated into the Boston Elevated Railway several decades later.
The Tremont Street Subway – the oldest subway tunnel in North America – opened its first section on September 1, 1897, to take streetcars off overcrowded downtown streets; it was extended five times over the next five decades.