One-month shutdown for maintenance of the orange line scheduled for Wednesday

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is expected to announce a 30-day shutdown of the Orange Line on Wednesday to deal with long overdue maintenance, sources told 5 Investigates. throughout the system, which includes the management of deferred maintenance throughout the system. Governor Charlie Baker was scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. with MBTA CEO Steve Poftak and MassDOT Secretary Jamey Tesler to discuss “accelerating infrastructure upgrades to the MBTA to improve passenger service, safety and reliability.” week, the MBTA halted plans for a month-long partial shutdown of a section of the Orange Line to give officials more time to explore whether 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 announces the project delay. . “This includes projects that address track conditions that need the most repairs and those that currently have significant speed restrictions.” One of four safety guidelines 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 used the previous short-term stops 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 approximately 1,500 feet long, increasing train speeds from 10 mph to 25 mph. “When all lane work is complete in this area, the speed can be increased to 40 mph,” the MBTA said. The Orange Line had an average weekday ridership of 102,358 passengers in May 2022, according to statistics provided by MBTA. Only the Red Line carries more passengers, with an average of 129,050 customers on weekdays, according to MBTA statistics. The Green Line carries an average of 82,585 passengers on weekdays while the Blue Line carries an average of 27,732. MBTA ridership statistics since 2016Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who suggested last week that longer stops on the MBTA could be the key to getting the system back to a better state, said it was time to actually address the issues. “We can’t keep putting band-aids on situations and trying to nibble at the edges,” Wu said. “We have to come up with real solutions.” Wu is herself an Orange Line driver. “For me, this is a very personal matter and so I want to make sure that we are not just focusing on what needs to be done, but doing it with the speed, thoroughness and completeness that our residents deserve,” Wu said. “Any service disruptions need to have alternatives that would involve shuttles or other options,” Wu said. “That’s where the city could be a real partner, so we’ll be working closely collaboration with the MBTA and will provide any support should this occur.” 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 that it caught 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 train windows which have been removed.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is expected to announce a 30-day closure of the Orange Line on Wednesday to deal with long overdue maintenance, sources told 5 Investigates.

The planned complete shutdown of the line comes as the transit agency grapples with federal mandates to improve safety throughout the system, which includes managing deferred maintenance in the whole system.

Governor Charlie Baker was scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. with MBTA CEO Steve Poftak and MassDOT Secretary Jamey Tesler to discuss “accelerating infrastructure upgrades to the MBTA to improve passenger service, safety and reliability.”

Last week, the MBTA halted plans for a month-long partial shutdown of a section of the Orange Line to give officials more time to explore whether additional work could be done during an extended shutdown.

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

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

One of four safety guidelines 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 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 approximately 1,500 feet long, increasing train speeds from 10 mph to 25 mph.

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

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

Only the Red Line carries more passengers, with an average of 129,050 customers on weekdays, according to MBTA statistics. The green line carries an average of 82,585 passengers on weekdays while the blue line carries an average of 27,732.

MBTA ridership statistics 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 was time to really address the issues.

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

Wu is an Orange Line user herself.

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

“Any service disruptions need to have alternatives that would involve shuttles or other options,” Wu said. support if this should happen.”

Last week, an Orange Line train passenger jumped off a bridge into the Mystic River and dozens of other passengers were evacuated through the windows of the MBTA train after catching fire on a bridge just south of the station in wellingtons.

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

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