MBTA says ‘commuting problems will persist’ Friday morning

Only three of nine commuter rail lines will reach South Station during the morning commute because of the Amtrak signal system failure.

Commuters wait inside Back Bay Station for their connection on Thursday.
Commuters wait inside Back Bay Station for their connection on Thursday. –Barry Chin / Boston Globe

Frustrated commuters packed T station platforms and train cars Thursday during the morning and evening rush hours in Boston, as an Amtrak signal system failure at South Station prevented many commuter rail trains from reaching the transit hub.

As for Friday morning? Commuters can expect much of the same, according to the MBTA, as the issue had not been resolved as of Thursday night.

“Due to the major Amtrak signal system failure, the commuting problems will persist [Friday] morning,’’ an MBTA release read.

Only three of nine commuter rail lines will reach South Station during the Friday morning commute, according to the MBTA. The other six lines will drop off passengers at Newmarket, Quincy Center, Braintree, JFK, Forest Hills, or Back Bay station to free transfers on either the Orange or Red line.

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The problems with Amtrak’s signal system, which is shared with the MBTA’s commuter rail, began early Thursday when Amtrak lost electronic control of the devices, according to Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert. The switches had to be operated manually, he said, preventing the majority of commuter rail trains from reaching South Station.

Amtrak warned passengers traveling through Boston to expect delays Friday morning as well.

Crews were still working to repair the issue and looking for what caused the failure as of 7 p.m. on Thursday, Tolbert said.

“We know folks are frustrated. We are too,’’ Leslie Aun, a spokeswoman for Keolis, which operates the commuter rail, said on her Twitter account. “Apologies to all [commuter rail] passengers delayed by Amtrak outage.’’

During his monthly “Ask the Governor’’ interview with WGBH Boston Public Radio, Gov. Charlie Baker said the signal system failure was “just another shot from left field’’ affecting the transit agency and that it was doing what it could.

“First of all, believe me, I feel the frustration that people feel with respect to the way the T was disrupted this morning,’’ he said.

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