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Red Line Repair and Recovery

Updated on July 19, 2019

A worker makes repairs at the JFK/UMass signals bungalow

We are working with contractors, engineering firms, and equipment manufacturers to repair the Red Line as quickly and safely as possible after the derailment on June 11, 2019.



Friday, July 19, 2019

We expect to have the signals restored between Broadway and JFK/UMass on or around August 15, 2019. 

When signals are fully restored, trains will be able to travel faster through the area, and spend less time stopped at stations. This should save riders an extra 5 minutes on their Red Line trips.

We’ve also begun adding 3 additional trains that each make a single one-way run during rush hour to ease crowding on trains and platforms. 


Thursday, July 18, 2019

We’re now able to run 24 trains during rush hour between Alewife and JFK, and you can expect trains approximately every 6 minutes during the morning and afternoon rush hours. For comparison, before the derailment, we were able to run up to 28 trains, with trains arriving approximately every 4.5 minutes.

We’re also investigating the possibility of operating up to 3 additional one-way trips from Ashmont, Alewife, or Braintree during the morning and evening commutes.

A Red Line train passes through JFK/UMass, with a worker on the platform, holding a flag and acting as a human signal, letting the train know when it's safe to go or when it needs to stop.
An MBTA worker manually signals trains from the platform

As signal repairs continue, trains are being dispatched via radio to our Operations Control Center (OCC) from workers at stations between Broadway and Fields Corner, and Broadway and North Quincy.

While we’re still dispatching from the field, you might experience some delays when we need to hold trains at the station until the tracks ahead are clear.

A worker stands near tracks and serves as a human signal, holding a flag to indicate to trains when it's safe to proceed and when they need to stop.
An MBTA worker signals trains trackside

Crews continue to work 7 days a week to repair and test over 1,000 damaged electronic components. Restoration efforts will continue through Labor Day.


Monday, July 15, 2019

When the Red Line derailment occurred, 3 bungalows were severely damaged. Our bungalows house critical communications technology that allows signals and switches to be remotely controlled. To continue service without this technology, 50 workers a day manually operated signals and switches along the tracks.

Our crews have rebuilt 3 signal bungalows and built 1 additional bungalow for additional communications and power support. 

As of Friday, 21 of 29 signals and 11 of 19 switches are once again being remotely controlled by dispatchers at our Operations Control Center (OCC). The number of trains we can move through the area is increasing.

Crews are working around-the-clock on the remaining signals and switches that were most critically damaged. Some manual operation of signals and switches will continue in the coming weeks.


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Governor Charlie Baker has announced an accelerated plan for the MBTA's capital improvement projects.

The MBTA Capital Acceleration Plan includes:

  • Scheduling more aggressive evening and weekend closures to expedite infrastructure improvements
  • Increasing proactive inspections and preventative maintenance
  • Negotiating with industry partners to expedite manufacturing and project schedules
  • Hiring a new, flexible team of additional MBTA personnel 
  • Seeking changes to law, to remove impediments to capital investments

Learn more about the MBTA Capital Acceleration Plan

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak and Governor Charlie Baker at a press conference at the Wellington Station
MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak and Governor Charlie Baker at a press conference Tuesday, June 25, at the Wellington Station

Monday, June 24, 2019

Safety Review Panel

Our board announced the formation of an Independent Safety Review Panel, which will bring outside perspectives to our safety practices.

Read more about the Independent Safety Review Panel

Investigation

We’re continuing an investigation into the cause of the derailment, and vehicle parts have been sent to a lab for analysis. 

We have also completed a thorough inspection of related components of vehicles of the same type involved in the Red Line derailment. 

Signals

Major repair work to signals continues, in 4 main areas: 

  • Broadway-JFK 
  • JFK-Ashmont 
  • JFK-North Quincy 
  • JFK-Cabot 

Signal restoration is expected to continue throughout the summer.

To learn more, download the presentation or watch the general manager and deputy general manager's remarks from the June 24 Fiscal and Management Control Board Meeting.


Friday, June 21, 2019

We are currently operating about 10 trains per hour, and expect this level of service will continue through the summer. Prior to the derailment, the Red Line ran 14 trains per hour.

We are continuing to investigate the cause of the derailment. We have ruled out operator error, speed, foul play, and track issues, and are currently investigating the vehicle that derailed. All vehicles of similar type have also been assessed. We are also doing a comprehensive assessment of the entire Red Line fleet.

If you want to learn more about this investigation, watch General Manager Steve Poftak’s update at the June 17 Fiscal and Management Control Board Meeting.

Signal Upgrades

In October 2018, a contract was awarded to replace the signals on the Red Line. That work includes upgrading the analog system to a new digital one. Those replacements will happen in sections, with work now starting at JFK/UMass.

Learn more about Red and Orange Line Signal Upgrades


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Red Line service levels continue to improve, and we want to thank you for your patience while traveling on the subway or Commuter Rail over the last week.

As customers return to their regular trips on the Red Line, supplemental Commuter Rail service between Braintree and South Station is no longer needed. Today will be the last day for extra stops on the Middleborough/Lakeville, Kingston/Plymouth, and Greenbush Lines. It’s also the last day for South Shore Limited service.

You can still use your CharlieCard or CharlieTicket on the Kingston/Plymouth, Middleborough/Lakeville, Greenbush, and Fairmount lines.


Monday, June 17, 2019

Signal repairs continue at JFK/UMass station. Please plan an extra 20 minutes for your trip on the Red Line. Most in-station countdown clocks have been turned back on, we are continuing to monitor them for accuracy.

Customers can also show their CharlieCard or CharlieTicket to take the Commuter Rail between Braintree and South Station on the Kingston/Plymouth, Middleborough/Lakeville, Greenbush, and South Shore Limited routes.


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Red Line service has been restored to both tracks at JFK/UMass. Customers no longer need to transfer for continued service to Braintree.

While we work to repair the signals at the station, trains will travel slowly. Please plan an extra 20 minutes for your commute.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

All track and third rail repairs are complete, and crews continue to work on signal repairs at JFK/UMass. Before restoring service to both tracks, we’ll run test trains through the area over the weekend to ensure your safety.


Wednesday Evening, June 12, 2019

The power and signal systems at JFK/UMass were heavily damaged during the derailment, and trains will continue to travel slowly through the station until repairs are complete.

Damage to Red Line signals at JFK/Umass
The signal house at JFK/UMass

We expect this work to take some time, as the signal system is complex, and it sends important data out to a number of places. For example, dispatchers at the Operations Control Center (OCC) use it to monitor trains traveling through the system and maintain even headways (headways are the gaps between each train in the system).

mbta dispatcher at operations control center
The MBTA's Operations Control Center (OCC) in downtown Boston

The signal system also informs a lot of the data you might see while planning a trip or waiting on a platform. It’s what we display on in-station countdown clocks and on our website. It’s also used by 3rd party apps like Google Maps and Transit.


Wednesday Afternoon, June 12, 2019

Crew repair tracks and signals at jfk/umass station
Crews along the tracks near JFK/UMass

The train that derailed on Tuesday damaged 200 feet of tracks and the third rail at JFK/UMass Station. Sections of both were replaced during the week, including Wednesday afternoon during a partial service shutdown. We appreciate your understanding during these repairs.


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Red Line service to Ashmont and Braintree has been restored. Braintree branch riders need to switch trains at JFK/UMass for continued service to South Station or Braintree.

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