MBTA pulls new Orange Line trains from service following electrical issues

Orange Line riders should expect delays of about 15 minutes over New Year's weekend as the T performs inspections and repairs.

Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe
Commuters waited to board an Orange Line train inbound into Boston from Oak Grove on Sept. 19, the first day of the reopening of the line after a monthlong shutdown for renovations. An electrical issue was recently discovered on nine trains, and the MBTA said it pulled them out of service to perform inspections and repairs.

Boston First Night visitors traveling on the Orange Line this weekend should plan for additional travel time due to an electrical issue that was recently discovered on nine trains.

In a news release, the MBTA said it pulled the impacted trains out of service to perform inspections and repairs. The issue comes three months after the transit agency wrapped up a monthlong shutdown of the Orange Line to make numerous upgrades.

Earlier this week, an engineer identified a failure in an electrical grounding component during a routine inspection of an Orange Line vehicle that may have created some electrical arcing with a nearby train axle. Transit officials inspected the rest of the Orange Line fleet and found a similar problem on some of the other cars.


“To date, the MBTA has identified nine cars where some arcing appears to have occurred and have removed all of the impacted cars for repairs including the replacement of the axles. A total of 11 axles across these nine cars have been impacted,” said MBTA spokesperson Lisa Battiston.

As of Friday evening, the T was operating eight Orange Line train sets, which equates to about 48 cars. This is two train sets, or 12 cars, fewer than the number of vehicles required to meet its schedule. 

MBTA and CRRC engineers are looking into the root cause of the electrical problem, and a maintenance team is implementing an enhanced inspection program until the permanent repairs are finished.

In the meantime, transit riders should anticipate delays.

“As the MBTA continues its inspections and performs necessary repairs, Orange Line riders will continue to experience longer headways of about 15 minutes between trains. The T apologizes for these inconveniences,” Battiston said.

MBTA riders can subscribe to T-Alerts or follow the MBTA on Twitter for up-to-date service information.


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