What to expect on the Red Line this week

Regular service has resumed after last week's derailment, but delays remain.

Commuters at the JFK/UMass Red Line station cross over the tracks via a sky bridge on Monday morning.
Commuters at the JFK/UMass Red Line station cross over the tracks via a sky bridge on Monday morning. –Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

Regular Red Line service is back up and running following a crippling derailment last week, but the system remains slow and prone to delays as crews repair damaged signal equipment.

MBTA officials reiterated Monday that riders should give themselves an extra 20 minutes for their commutes through the evening rush hour and into Tuesday morning.

While “one-seat” service between Braintree and Alewife was restored Sunday, General Manager Steve Poftak said the agency will continue to run what it calls the “South Shore Limited” commuter rail service, making stops at South Station and the JFK/UMass, Quincy Center, and Braintree stations during peak times.


Would-be Red Line riders can hop aboard by showing their CharlieTickets or CharlieCards, he said.

“That service is proving to be, particularly in the afternoon, pretty popular. We have about 900 riders on there,” Poftak told the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board. “We’ll see now, now that we’ve resumed one-seat service (on the Red Line) … how long we want to continue to run that. We’ll make that decision Tuesday afternoon.”

The Middleborough/Lakeville and Kingston/Plymouth commuter rail lines will also make additional stops at JFK/UMass, Quincy Center, and Braintree during the Monday evening and Tuesday morning commutes for riders on the Braintree branch, according to the MBTA website. Greenbush Line trains will make stops at JFK/UMass and Quincy Center, the site said.

Similarly, the MBTA also recommended Ashmont-bound riders consider taking commuter rail service on the Fairmont Line from South Station. Riders from Cambridge and Somerville may want to take the Fitchburg Line between Porter and North stations, the agency said.

The service updates come as the agency continues to investigate what caused a southbound Red Line train to derail just outside of JFK/UMass station on June 11. Operator error, foul play, and issues with track infrastructure have all been ruled out as possible causes, according to Poftak, who said investigators have turned their attention to the Red Line car itself.


In the meantime, crews have replaced a damaged section of the third rail and have finished all needed repairs on the tracks, but work on three signal bungalows — including one that was “basically completely wiped out” in the incident — remains ongoing, he said.

With the loss of the automated signal system, the MBTA has been forced to guide Red Line trains manually, which means service is moving at a slower speed, according to Poftak.

“We are making every effort to expedite that work as safely as possible,” he said.