Two months after the Red Line derailed, here’s a look at what’s happened since

"This is an unbelievably complicated piece of really old technology."

A Red Line train derailed at JFK-Umass T stop during morning commute on June 11.
A Red Line train derailed at the JFK/UMass T stop during the morning commute on June 11. –Jonathan Wiggs / The Boston Globe

A lot, and little, can happen in a two-month span.

In the two months since the Red Line derailed on the morning of June 11, service has not yet returned to its normal levels, politicians have called for change and condemned the MBTA’s fare hike on July 1, and Gov. Charlie Baker and T officials released a plan to expedite repairs.

With the many things that have happened over the last couple of months, from the derailment through the ongoing repairs, here’s a look at some key moments since the incident:

Just after 6 a.m., June 11: The Red Line derails

A Red Line train derailed at JFK/UMass Station. Photos from the scene taken by the Boston Fire Department show the train standing crookedly along the track.


Around 60 people were evacuated from the train, fire officials said. One person sustained a minor injury.

Commuters were forced to take various commuter rail lines, while shuttle buses also ran between North Quincy and Park Street, wreaking havoc on the morning commute.

Service was restored just before 5 p.m. with trains running slowly through the derailment area. Braintree riders were forced to hop off at JFK/UMass to transfer.

June 12: Red Line delays continue

Jacquelyn Goddard, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, tweeted photos of signal bungalows torn apart by the train derailment. Delays continued as T workers were forced to manually signal the trains due to the damaged signal hardware in the bungalows.

“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 on Twitter. “This also means we need people along the tracks to physically set the routes to direct trains.”

Steve Poftak, the T’s general manager, also said the MBTA would be hiring a third party to investigate all derailments over the past two years.

David Jones, of Quincy, waits for a Red Line train at JFK/UMass on June 13. —Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe

June 14: Officials determine the derailment wasn’t the operator’s fault

The operator was cleared of any responsibility for the derailment, T officials said.

June 16: Braintree ‘one-seat ride’ is restored

While Braintree riders were forced to transfer at JFK/UMass following the derailment, direct service was brought back.

June 17: Red Line commuters are told to add 20 minutes to their expected commutes


As repairs continued, riders were told they should add 20 minutes to their expected Monday commutes into the following Tuesday morning.

June 21: Commuters are told to expect longer ride times through Labor Day and beyond

MBTA officials said riders should continue to add 20 minutes to their commutes through the holiday.

“We are working to restore the full level of service using some of the existing equipment and any equipment we can secure,” Poftak said at the time, according to the Globe. “It is a very complicated process. Some of this equipment is obviously not the type of thing that you buy off the rack.”

June 24: Red Line service remains less frequent as workers continue repairs

Poftak told transportation officials during an MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board meeting that the T usually has 13 to 14 Red Line trains an hour during peak times, but that dropped to six per hour from June 12-14 with Braintree passengers having to transfer at JFK/UMass. The average trip from Braintree to South Station took 55 minutes or more after the incident; it was 30 minutes before that.

From June 17-21, service was increased to 10 to 11 trains an hour during peak times due to repairs. The ride time between Braintree and South Station dropped to 40 minutes, according to Poftak’s presentation.

June 25: Gov. Charlie Baker and other transportation officials announce the MBTA ‘acceleration plan’

During a press conference with a new Orange Line car in the background, Baker told reporters that the MBTA was going to work through improvements more quickly with “more aggressive evening and weekend closures.”

Baker also talked about visiting the site of the derailment and looking at the signal equipment bungalows, noting that he had three takeaways.

“The first was this is an unbelievably complicated piece of really old technology,” he said. “I can’t even imagine … well, we’ll soon see at some point what this actually looks like with 21st century technology and I’m willing to bet it’s going to be about 5 percent as big as it is now and probably a heck of a lot less complicated. The second was how close it was to the tracks to begin with. I don’t know when it was installed there, probably in the ‘60s. And the third was how hard it would be to fix that and deal with all the other issues associated with the manual operation of the switch tech and the signaling technology that’s currently being done every day by people who work for the T at both ends.”


July 1: Several hundred people protest the MBTA fare hikes

The first day of the T’s 6 percent fare hike was met with protesters, numbering 350 or more, local politicians who joined in the efforts said.

“Starting today, commuters have to choose between paying more for unreliable MBTA service or sitting in the worst traffic in the country,” Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu said in a statement.

July 18: Trains are expected every six minutes between Alewife and JFK/UMass

MBTA officials announced that trains would be running about every six minutes between Alewife and JFK/UMass during the morning and evening rush hours. Before the derailment, there were about 28 trains running during peak times. As of the 18th, it was 24 trains.

Train dispatching via radio continued, according to the T, for stations between Broadway and North Quincy, and Broadway and Fields Corner, which could result in delays.

July 19: Video of the derailment is released by the MBTA

The T released two different angles from surveillance videos of the derailment. In both, viewers can see bright pops of electrical sparks as the train makes its way to JFK/UMass.

Aug. 3: Normal service is targeted for October

MBTA officials said they expected the train line to be running normally in October, and anticipated all the signal damage to be fixed by then.

“We are targeting October for having all of the signals operating automatically,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo told The Boston Globe.

Aug. 9: Twenty-eight trains are operating along the line

The number of trains running along the line returned to the pre-derailment levels of 28 during peak times due to signal repairs, the T said in a press release. That meant there were 14 trains scheduled per hour. The signals repaired included those between Broadway and JFK/UMass.

Because of the signal repairs, the amount of manual signaling dropped to just a couple areas between North Quincy and JFK/UMass, and between JFK/UMass and Fields Corner. Around 41 workers were still needed to help signal the trains, the release said.

Aug. 13: Red Line signal parts aren’t made anymore

During a visit to the signal bungalows, a Globe reporter takes a look at the system, which was a hop, skip, and a jump back to the 1970s. The manufacturer of the signal parts stopped making them five years ago.

“They don’t make them anymore,” Joe McNall, director of signals and communications for the T, told the Globe.


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