MBTA tweeted every repair it made during the Orange Line shutdown

The transit agency shed light on the 41 Orange Line projects it completed between August and September.

In a massive tweet thread, the MBTA outlined every repair it made during the Orange Line’s monthlong closure between August and September.

The projects included replacing tracks and railroad ties, laying several thousand feet of new signal cable, upgrading Orange Line cars, structural repairs at T stations, accessibility improvements at elevators, stairs, and doors,  tunnel and bridge inspections, and much more. 

“Over the course of 30 days, we completed 41 projects across the Orange Line for #BuildingABetterT. Ranging from large track upgrades to smaller inspection work, these projects help to renew infrastructure and provide a better rider experience,” the @MBTA handle tweeted on Friday.

The Orange Line reopened as planned on Monday, Sept. 19. The T said it was able to complete the multitude of projects thanks to their uninterrupted access to the line during the month-long shutdown. Here is a look at a few of those projects:


They made Oak Grove more accessible for people with mobility issues.

“At Oak Grove, we accelerated ongoing #TAccess upgrades, including renovating elevators, new terrazzo flooring, stairs, a skylight, doors and lighting for a better, more accessible rider experience,” the T said. Workers also replaced the rub rails that protect both the platforms and trains from wear.

They replaced 400 Cologne eggs at Tufts Medical Center.

In the tunnels at Tufts Medical Center, the transit agency replaced 400 Cologne eggs, which are specialized rail fasteners that dampen noise and vibrations, to protect the hospital above. “We also installed 1,086 feet of new rail to eliminate a long-standing slow zone, allowing for faster service in the area,” the T said.

They replaced 858 feet of rail between State and Downtown Crossing.

Between State and Downtown Crossing, transit officials replaced 858 feet of rail to remove the first of six speed restrictions on the Orange Line. “With new rails, we can increase track speeds so trains can run faster and more efficiently while renewing the service life of our infrastructure,” the T said.

They upgraded an old signal system.

The T upgraded its signal system between Oak Grove and Malden Center, transitioning from the old relay signals to a modern digital system. “With updated technology comes greater service reliability, lower maintenance with new equipment & more efficient communication through the system,” the T said.


They prepped 72 new Orange Line cars for increased capacity.

Their vehicle engineering and maintenance crews originally aimed to prepare 60 new Orange Line cars for service. However, they ended up prepping an extra 12 cars on top of that goal. “With 72 new cars available, the Orange Line will predominately be made up of new trains with increased capacity & #TAccess + better operations,” the T said.

They installed 4,356 feet of new rail between Wellington and North Station.

Between Wellington and the North Station portal, the T installed 4,356 feet of new rail for a safer, smoother ride that also helped to eliminate three slow zones in the area. “We also replaced 2,086 wooden rail ties that hold those rails in place and help distribute the train’s weight,” the T said.

They replaced 550 wooden ties and ballasts near Wellington.

Around Wellington, transit workers replaced 7,200 feet of rail and 550 wooden ties, laid new ballast, and installed two track crossovers. “These improvements allow for more streamlined operations in and out of the Wellington Yard — a critical point for providing optimal Orange Line service,” the T said.

They aligned the tracks between Community College and Assembly.

“To further enhance our track safety and quality, tracks between Community College and Assembly underwent a process called ‘surface, line, and tamp,’” the T said. Transit officials say this process ensures that the tracks are properly aligned with the correct spacing and are level for a smooth, efficient ride.


They replaced rail and ties at Back Bay.

At Back Bay, the T replaced 500 feet of rail and 74 wooden rail ties “for a renewed service life with greater reliability and safety, plus a smoother train ride.” Workers surveyed the station’s ceilings, platforms, and lighting to support plans for future wayfinding improvements.

They cleared catch basins and drainage pipes.

Transit workers vacuumed out catch basins and more than 1,000 feet of drainage troughs and pipes. “During large storms, these pipes and basins are key to moving stormwater away from our tracks, helping to prevent flooding and protecting our infrastructure and service,” the T said.

The MBTA’s entire thread outlining the Orange Line improvements is available on the agency’s Twitter page, Twitter.com/MBTA.


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