Orange Line 30-Day Surge: 100% Complete
Updated on September 19, 2022
Building a Better T
As part of our $9.6 billion, 5-year capital investment plan, we're renovating stations, modernizing fare collection systems, upgrading services for our buses, subways, and ferries, and improving the accessibility of the entire system.
What We've Accomplished
During the Orange Line 30-Day Surge, crews completed the following work:
- Addressed six slow zones: two located between Wellington and Assembly, and one each near North Station, between State Street and Downtown Crossing, in the tunnel at Tufts Medical Center, and at Jackson Square
- Renewed 20 units of special trackwork near Ruggles station, at Wellington Yard, near Jackson Square, and at Forest Hills and Back Bay stations
- Completed 3,500 feet of track replacement including replacement of 2,836 ties between Wellington and North Station Portal and at Back Bay station as well as ballast surfacing and track alignment between the Dana Bridge and Community College station
- Completed 14,000 linear feet of rail replacement between Wellington Yard and North Station Portal, in the tunnel at Tufts Medical Center, between State Street and Downtown Crossing, and at Back Bay station
- Replaced 48,000 linear feet of signal cable between Back Bay and Forest Hills
- Installed 400 new Cologne eggs (vibration reduction hardware) at the Tufts Medical Center station
- During the Surge, the initial goal was to prepare 60 new Orange Line cars for when Orange Line service is restored September 19. Mechanics and engineers completed vehicle readiness of an additional 12 cars, more than enough to cover peak morning and afternoon service (six cars make up a train). Following the Surge, riders will experience better service on an Orange Line fleet that is predominately new cars.
- Installed new enhanced signal system between Oak Grove and Malden Center
Additional Repairs and Upgrades
We leveraged work windows that did not impede the priority work to achieve other planned repairs and upgrades. In 30 days, crews completed the following additional work:
Enhancing Safety and State of Good Repair
- Wayside sign replacement: Crews identified, then cleaned, repaired, or replaced missing or damaged wayside signs, including emergency exit signs, mile markers, and speed limit signs that provide transit operators and crews with operating information along the tracks.
- Back Bay station survey: Back Bay station’s ceiling, platform cantilever and ceiling/under platform lighting were visually inspected to help inform and identify wayfinding improvements.
- Tufts standpipe replacement: The existing standpipe fire suppression system was removed and replaced with a state-of-the-art system that covers all areas of the station.
- North Station security cameras: Crews replaced conduit, wires, cameras, and security equipment at each end of both Orange Line platforms. The existing equipment was 15 years old, and this upgrade allows MBTA Security to monitor and be aware of station safety incidents.
- Rub rail repairs at Oak Grove and Malden Center: Crews inspected and repaired Oak Grove’s and Malden Center’s rub rails, which are attached to the outside edge of platforms to protect the concrete from the wear and tear of passing trains.
- Massachusetts Avenue and Jackson Square blackout tests: Workers tested the stations’ generators and identified additional emergency lighting needs for future improvements.
- Orange Line test pits and monitoring: Crews excavated exploratory test pits to expose signal and power infrastructure and underground utilities in preparation for soil borings to support a future project.
- Orange Line borings: Borings provided critical soil data for the design of a new underground transmission line.
- Drainage cleaning: Crews vacuumed out catch basins and over 1,000 feet of drainage troughs and pipes. Periodic cleaning is crucial to managing stormwater during large storms, so trains aren't impacted by flooding conditions.
- Ruggles to Forest Hills transit bridge inspections: Workers examined the structural condition of overhead roadway bridges from Ruggles to Forest Hills. These were completed for system safety and will provide information to further develop plans for future repairs.
- North Station to Tufts tunnel inspection: Inspections are required to help facilitate future infrastructure repairs and identify any areas in need of improvement.
- Jackson Square expansion joint inspection: Workers inspected the location and extent of leakage taking place in the tunnel at the station, providing information in order to further develop plans and solutions to repair the leaks in the future.
- Ruggles duct bank inspection: In support of Ruggles Station Improvements Phase II work, ground penetrating radar was utilized and additional utility inspections performed to inform design.
- Community College switch gear replacement: Low voltage switch gear, transformers, panel boards, conduit conductors, and other hardware were replaced in the electrical room.
- North Station to State conduit inspection: Workers confirmed the feasibility of installing new electrical cables to provide emergency power improvements in support of planned upgrades at North Station.
- Chinatown to State conduit inspection: Workers confirmed the feasibility of installing new electrical cables to provide emergency power improvements in support of planned upgrades at Chinatown.
- Massachusetts Avenue to Forest Hills retaining wall inspections: Workers inspected retaining walls’ structural condition for system safety and to provide information to help develop plans and engineering solutions to facilitate future repairs.
- Wellington power vault: Workers installed new duct banks and a new traction power box for third rail power, allowing the power cables to be relocated to a more resilient underground routing so vehicle power is delivered more reliably in the Wellington area.
- Southwest corridor signals: Workers have laid 48,000 feet of new signal cable, which will be activated in 2023 as part the Signal Upgrades project when the new system is placed in service along the Southwest Corridor.
- Oak Grove accessibility enhancements: Accessibility enhancement and cosmetic improvements included installing a new skylight; elevator improvements; installing new station floors to eliminate tripping hazards and provide a better walking surface for passengers; replacing stair treads; and installing new lights on the station platforms. The station was also deep cleaned and additional cosmetic improvements were completed.
- Tactile replacement: Workers repaired and replaced tactile strips, which help people who are blind or have low vision navigate platform areas, at stations between Ruggles and Forest Hills.
- State Street concrete core sampling: Core samples taken from the station lobby provide a better understanding of what’s beneath the slabs and what will be required to implement planned station accessibility improvements, including a new lobby floor and a modernized elevator.
Improving the Rider Experience
- Interior and exterior station repairs: Repairs at stations across the Orange Line included replacement of platform tactile strips, concrete repairs to platforms, brick paver replacements, station lighting repairs and replacement, bench repairs, signage replacement, stair tread replacement, painting of various station elements, and general cleaning.
- Wellington roof repairs: Workers replaced the existing roof at the Wellington Maintenance Facility, including roof drainage, all flashing, and roof accessories, helping to protecting riders from the elements.
- Sullivan Square station canopies: The existing roof over the canopies was removed and replaced, including the roof drainage, flashing, and roof accessories, helping to protecting riders from the elements.
- Chinatown concrete core sampling: Core samples taken from the station lobby provide a better understanding of what’s beneath the slabs and what will be required to implement planned station improvements, including reactivation of station entrances.
For questions or comments related to this project, please email the Orange Line Transformation team at OLT@mbta.com.
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