Local News

Here’s why there are still slow zones on the Orange Line

Officials originally said speed restrictions would be lifted in the week or so after the line opened.

Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe, File

There are new trains, and the rides are moving faster than when service resumed on the Orange Line after its unprecedented 30-day shutdown. But commuters are still encountering stretches of slow travel that are adding time to their trips. 

Originally, officials promised that speed restrictions in six “slow zones” on the Orange Line would be lifted in the week or so after rail service reopened, to allow for the new track to “settle.”

But the slow zones remain in place between Boston’s North Station and Assembly in Somerville, much to the consternation of commuters. 


“It’s at a crawl, like you can stand without holding onto the railings and worrying about toppling over,” one passenger told CBS Boston.

Asked about the ongoing slow stretches, an MBTA spokesperson said that during the 30-day shutdown, all the work identified as “necessary” to remove the six slowdowns on the line was completed. But at the end of the line closure, it was determined that with crews already in place, the MBTA could “take advantage of the accessibility to start work on additional lower priority projects that would need to be addressed at a later date, now.”

“The MBTA will continue to perform maintenance activities across the line as necessary and appreciates the patience of all riders as slow zones remain in place while this secondary work outside the scope of the surge continues between North Station and Assembly Square and track and ballast settle,” the statement read. 

The statement did not address when the speed restrictions would be lifted.

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