MBTA explains why delays are continuing after Red Line derailment

It is unclear how long it will take to repair damaged equipment, officials said.

Workers assess the tracks and a damaged structure on the Red Line at the JFK / UMass station Wednesday.
Workers assess the tracks and a damaged structure on the Red Line at JFK/UMass station Wednesday. –Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

A day after a train derailed, snarling the morning commute, Red Line service resumed Wednesday, but delays remain as crews make needed repairs, MBTA officials say.

The incident, which happened just after 6 a.m. Tuesday at JFK/UMass station, damaged multiple signal bungalows — sheds that house signal system hardware — alongside the tracks, leaving operators to manually manage rail traffic, the MBTA said in a series of tweets.

As a result, trains were traveling at slower speeds Wednesday, with the Red Line operating at “reduced service levels,” according to the agency. Officials urged passengers to give themselves extra time for traveling.


“Without the signal system, trains must be given permission from our Operations Control Center to move from one station to the next, one train at a time,” the MBTA said in a tweet. “This also means we need people along the tracks to physically set the routes to direct trains.

“This failure prevents clear communication to train tracking, GPS apps, and countdown clocks,” the MBTA added. “To avoid inaccurate predictions, we’ve turned off the countdown clocks across the Red Line.”

Commuters on the inbound Red Line platform at JFK/UMass station on Wednesday. —Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Needed repairs include rebuilding the bungalows, installing new cables and signals, and fixing the damaged tracks, according to officials, who said it is unclear how long that process will take.

“We know this is a big ask,” the MBTA said. “We sincerely appreciate all our riders’ understanding and patience while crews work around the clock to fix this.”

On Tuesday, MBTA General Manger Steve Poftak told reporters the agency will hire a third party to assess derailments that have occurred across the system in the last two years.

The latest incident, the fourth in 2019, came only four days after a Green Line train derailed near Kenmore, injuring at least 10 people. Poftak said Tuesday’s derailment was “wholly unrelated.”