The new Orange Line cars are back — and under close scrutiny

MBTA officials says they've fixed the issue that was causing the shiny, new cars to make an "unusual noise."

A new Orange Line train pulls out of Wellington Station on its first day of service last August. Lane Turner / The Boston Globe, file

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Transit enthusiasts rejoice; the new Orange Line trains are back.

Seven weeks after they were taken out of service, the MBTA announced Tuesday morning that one of the two six-car trains was back on the tracks. The independently run website newtrains.today, which tracks the new Orange Line cars, confirmed the news, as did a number of MBTA riders who posted photos on social media Tuesday.

The shiny new trains had been taken out of service on Nov. 18 after MBTA engineers detected an “unusual noise” originating from a “wear pad” between the cars’ body and undercarriage that was “wearing irregularly.” However, the agency tweeted Tuesday that they had since “implemented a fix.”


“The train will run periodically as we continue to monitor & test the new vehicles,” the tweet said.

Steve Poftak, the MBTA’s general manager, said last month that the fix was covered under a warranty with CRRC, the Chinese manufacturer of the 404 expected new Orange and Red Line cars, and thus came at no additional cost to the T. The agency tweeted Tuesday that the “refinements” and “lessons” learned from the rollout of the first new trains would help ensure that they “will be able to perform as designed for the duration of their service lives.”

“By subjecting new trains to this high level of scrutiny, the MBTA can proactively identify any potential issues and take any corrective actions early,” Poftak said in a statement Tuesday, noting that the new trains very well could be taken out of service again.

“These vehicles will have a life of at least 30 years and the early detection of issues allows corrective actions to be taken in the production process,” he added. “Going forward, train sets may be taken out of service from time to time as potential issues are detected that may require further analysis.  If necessary, trains may be kept out of service for testing and to address any possible issues.”


MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo told Boston.com that the second new Orange Line train will return later this month. The train that was already back in service caught riders’ attention Tuesday.

According to MBTA, there are an additional 140 new Orange Line cars (out of a total 152-car order) on the way. The new vehicles, which first went into service last August, have more space, wider doors, and more modern accessories. The MBTA says all of them are expected to be in service by 2022.


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