Track services

Orange and Green Line work on track for more runners after Labor Day

Bring the horsemen.

The general manager of the MBTASteve Poftak, said the diverted orange and green lines are ready for the expected spike in ridership after Labor Day once Boston public school students return to class, students arrive on campus and that the workers will return to the offices.

“It was time to get the sea legs,” Poftak said of the past two weeks in which the Orange and Green Lines suffered “hijackings.”

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Shuttles, circulating on the surface streets, replaced the underground T service. The Orange Line had between 100 and 110 buses carrying passengers on the northern section from Oak Grove to Government Center, and another 50 to 70 buses on the southern part of the line. Another 20 buses were dedicated to transporting passengers traveling on the Green Line from the Union Square spur to the Government Center.

“We’ve given away 5,000 seven-day passes to encourage parents to ride practice runs, and we’re publishing a rider’s guide specifically for students,” Poftak said. Some 25,000 public school students use the MBTA in grades 7-12; including 4,000 directly affected by the closure of the orange line. Information about the Metro line closure is available in 11 different languages ​​and on all MBTA social media sites.

Commuter rail lines serving affected communities have also increased service in anticipation of increased ridership next week.

Passengers board an MBTA Green Line shuttle at the Government Center station stop on Wednesday, August 24, 2022. Portions of the MBTA Green Line and all of the Orange Line are closed for four weeks for maintenance works repair.

“In my experience, there was always a bus waiting when I got to a stop,” Poftak said, but on average the buses ran every three to seven minutes, depending on the time of day. Hours of heavy traffic slowed the trip to an average of 40 minutes from Oak Grove to Government Center, with an average travel time of about 30 minutes on the southern portion of Forest Hills.

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In his comments, Poftak urged motorists to respect the dedicated bus lanes set up along the route to reduce latency.

“We are working with many partners to provide dedicated bus lanes,” Poftak said, thanking city officials and state agencies that created the lanes at the agency’s request.

While talking about the work, Poftak took a moment to discuss more than 100 new “Type 10 Supercar Carts” ordered for the Green Line from CAF USA Inc., an $810 million capital investment whose passengers will be able to enjoy in a few years (pilot cars are expected in 2026). The Supercars will be 40% longer than existing carts, be more accessible with wider door openings, include the latest safety technologies and be more spacious, improving the driver experience.

An MBTA Green Line shuttle driver departs Government Center station Wednesday, August 24, 2022. Portions of the MBTA Green Line and all of the Orange Line are closed for four weeks for repair work.

So far is Day 13, crews working around the clock to fix safety and maintenance issues on the Orange Line have replaced 1,715 feet of track (of 3,500), replaced 6,200 feet rail fasteners (of 14,000), replaced 88 rail fasteners (of 400), and performed signal upgrades at Oak Grove and Malden stations.

Additionally, crews repaired the canopy at Sullivan Station, installed additional security at North Station and completed crossing work at Ruggles.

Poftak said the Green Line extension through Somerville to Medford is on schedule and expected to open in the fall, well after both lines are scheduled to reopen on September 19.

In addition to the replacement of the track, users of the Orange Line will benefit from 56 new cars which will be put into service when the line reopens.

“We have multiple teams working in multiple locations,” Poftak said of the Orange Line. Blanking up the entire line allowed teams to tackle multiple projects 24/7. “The work, the choreography, was amazing.”

Passengers on an MBTA Green Line shuttle headed for Gare du Nord on Wednesday August 24, 2022. Portions of the MBTA Green Line and Orange Line are closed for four weeks for repair work.

Without the shutdown, the projects being tackled would have taken much longer, Poftak said. He cited the work of lane crews between Downtown Crossing and State Street during this project; they managed to lay 900 feet in two days. On average, a night crew lays 39 feet of track.

In a final note, Poftak said the service currently available on all MBTA subway lines will continue through the fall; which includes all the service cuts made at the beginning of the summer. He shot down rumors that one of the other service lines would suffer the same formwork as the Orange and Green lines in the immediate future.