THE DAILY REFORMER NEWS(Last Updated On: March 18, 2023)
Speeds will remain capped at 25 mph on the Green Line “at least” throughout the end of service on Saturday, an MBTA spokesperson said.
Interim General Manager Jeffrey Gonneville said Friday that he was “optimistic” the MBTA would be in a position to lift the full line speed restriction on Saturday morning, but issues with sign placement hindered those tentative plans.
“The MBTA continues to prioritize safety and at this time cannot lift the Green Line line-wide speed restriction as further evaluation and validation of specific locations are needed,” spokesperson Lisa Battiston said.
The agency tweeted Saturday that crews identified speed signs that needed to be relocated to implement “block” speed restrictions, while running a Green Line test train in areas where track defects had previously been identified.
“The MBTA has identified 30 speed limit signs that need to be relocated on the Green Line, and that work is taking place (Saturday),” Battiston said. “After that work is completed, the MBTA will re-run test trains on the entire line.”
The T apologized for the continued disruption to its riders, saying that the so-called global speed restriction cannot be lifted until this “manual process” is completed.
Once the full cap is lifted, the MBTA estimates 16% of the Green Line will remain covered in so-called block speed restrictions, defined by the agency as a length of track that includes multiple defects that need to be investigated or mitigated.
According to a chart prepared by the MBTA, 31.9% of the heavy rail system is speed-restricted, including 22% of the Orange Line, 24% of the Red Line and 80% of the Blue Line.
End-to-end speed restrictions were lifted on the Mattapan Line Thursday and on the Red, Blue and Orange Lines last Friday. The entire system was slowed down to 10–25 mph last Thursday, March 8, following negative findings from a Red Line track inspection conducted by the Department of Public Utilities.
Gonneville ordered a systemwide speed restriction after the MBTA was unable to produce paperwork requested by the DPU, which would have confirmed the results of magnetized track inspections conducted by the T in February for most lines, and March for the Green Line.
The documentation was incomplete, and in some cases, missing entirely, Gonneville said, making it impossible to know what parts of the system were safe or where track repairs were still needed.
Karissa Hand, a spokesperson for Gov. Maura Healey, said the governor has directed the MBTA to “conduct these track inspections as quickly and safely as possible and keep the public regularly updated throughout this process.”
“While initial review indicates that staff vacancies contributed to the documentation issue, the governor has directed the MBTA to conduct a thorough review of this situation and take immediate corrective actions to ensure accountability,” Hand said.
“She has also directed the MBTA to thoroughly document the inspection and repair process as they work to resolve the remaining track issues.”
A validation and verification process is underway to identify and repair track defects, which will determine where speed restrictions can be lifted or corrective actions are needed, Gonneville said.
Prior to the additional speed restrictions added last week, 7.5% of MBTA track was speed-restricted, including 12.8% of the Orange Line, 11.9% of the Red Line, and 1.6% of the Blue Line.
As reported by Boston Herald