Monthlong maintenance shutdown of Orange Line expected Wednesday

Monthlong maintenance shutdown of Orange Line expected Wednesday

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is expected to announce a 30-day shut down of the Orange Line on Wednesday to address long overdue maintenance, sources tell 5 Investigates.The expected full-line shutdown comes as the transit agency grapples with federal mandates to improve safety across the system, which includes addressing deferred maintenance across the system. Gov. Charlie Baker was set to hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday with MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak and MassDOT secretary Jamey Tesler to discuss “accelerated infrastructure upgrades to the MBTA to improve service, safety and reliability for riders.”Last week, the MBTA halted plans for a partial monthlong shutdown of a section of the Orange Line to allow officials more time to explore if additional work could be done during an extended shutdown.Service between Oak Grove and Wellington stations on the Orange Line was originally set to be suspended for track and signal maintenance before the MBTA announced the delay to the project.”The MBTA continues to prioritize safety enhancements and address additional track work and maintenance associated with the Federal Transit Administration directives,” the MBTA said in a statement last week. “This includes projects that address track conditions in need of most repair and those that currently have substantial speed restrictions.”One of four safety directives released by the Federal Transit Administration earlier this year highlighted a section of the Orange Line south of Tufts Medical Center that had been under speed restrictions since 2019.The MBTA has used previous short-term shutdowns to install hundreds of feet of new track on the southbound Orange Line tracks between Back Bay and Massachusetts Avenue stations. The construction allowed the MBTA to lift a speed restriction that was approximately 1,500 feet long, raising train speeds from 10 mph to 25 mph. “When all track work is completed in this area, the speed will be able to be increased to 40 mph,” the MBTA said.The Orange Line had an average weekday ridership of 102,358 passengers in May of 2022, according to stats provided by the MBTA. Only the Red Line carries more passengers, with an average of 129,050 customers on weekdays, according to MBTA stats. The Green Line averages 82,585 passengers on weekdays while the Blue Line averages 27,732. MBTA ridership stats since 2016Boston mayor Michelle Wu, who suggested last week that longer MBTA shutdowns could be key to getting the system back to a better state, said it’s time to actually address the issues. “We can’t keep putting band aids on situations and trying to nibble around the edges,” Wu said. “We have to get down to real fixes.”Wu is an Orange Line rider herself. “For me, this is a very personal issue and so I want to make sure we are not just focusing on what needs to be done but doing it with the speed and thoroughness and comprehensiveness that our residents deserve,” Wu said.”Any disruption in service needs to have alternatives that would involve shuttle buses or other options,” Wu said. “That is where the city could be a real partner, so we will work very closely with the MBTA and provide any support if this is to happen.”Last week, an Orange Line train passenger jumped off a bridge into the Mystic River and dozens of other passengers evacuated through the windows of the MBTA train after it caught on fire on a bridge just south of Wellington Station.About 200 people were on the train at the time of the incident. Many evacuated through four windows on the train that were removed.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is expected to announce a 30-day shut down of the Orange Line on Wednesday to address long overdue maintenance, sources tell 5 Investigates.

The expected full-line shutdown comes as the transit agency grapples with federal mandates to improve safety across the system, which includes addressing deferred maintenance across the system.

Gov. Charlie Baker was set to hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday with MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak and MassDOT secretary Jamey Tesler to discuss “accelerated infrastructure upgrades to the MBTA to improve service, safety and reliability for riders.”

Last week, the MBTA halted plans for a partial monthlong shutdown of a section of the Orange Line to allow officials more time to explore if additional work could be done during an extended shutdown.

Service between Oak Grove and Wellington stations on the Orange Line was originally set to be suspended for track and signal maintenance before the MBTA announced the delay to the project.

“The MBTA continues to prioritize safety enhancements and address additional track work and maintenance associated with the Federal Transit Administration directives,” the MBTA said in a statement last week. “This includes projects that address track conditions in need of most repair and those that currently have substantial speed restrictions.”

One of four safety directives released by the Federal Transit Administration earlier this year highlighted a section of the Orange Line south of Tufts Medical Center that had been under speed restrictions since 2019.

The MBTA has used previous short-term shutdowns to install hundreds of feet of new track on the southbound Orange Line tracks between Back Bay and Massachusetts Avenue stations. The construction allowed the MBTA to lift a speed restriction that was approximately 1,500 feet long, raising train speeds from 10 mph to 25 mph.

“When all track work is completed in this area, the speed will be able to be increased to 40 mph,” the MBTA said.

The Orange Line had an average weekday ridership of 102,358 passengers in May of 2022, according to stats provided by the MBTA.

Only the Red Line carries more passengers, with an average of 129,050 customers on weekdays, according to MBTA stats. The Green Line averages 82,585 passengers on weekdays while the Blue Line averages 27,732.

MBTA ridership stats since 2016

Boston mayor Michelle Wu, who suggested last week that longer MBTA shutdowns could be key to getting the system back to a better state, said it’s time to actually address the issues.

“We can’t keep putting band aids on situations and trying to nibble around the edges,” Wu said. “We have to get down to real fixes.”

Wu is an Orange Line rider herself.

“For me, this is a very personal issue and so I want to make sure we are not just focusing on what needs to be done but doing it with the speed and thoroughness and comprehensiveness that our residents deserve,” Wu said.

“Any disruption in service needs to have alternatives that would involve shuttle buses or other options,” Wu said. “That is where the city could be a real partner, so we will work very closely with the MBTA and provide any support if this is to happen.”

Last week, an Orange Line train passenger jumped off a bridge into the Mystic River and dozens of other passengers evacuated through the windows of the MBTA train after it caught on fire on a bridge just south of Wellington Station.

About 200 people were on the train at the time of the incident. Many evacuated through four windows on the train that were removed.

#Monthlong #maintenance #shutdown #Orange #Line #expected #Wednesday

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.