MBTA may reinstate some old Orange Line cars as it works on new trains

Several new Orange Line trains were recently taken out of service due to electrical issues, causing 15-minute delays.

Erin Clark/Globe Staff
Old and new orange line trains sit at Wellington Station.

The MBTA may put some old Orange Line cars back in service as crews inspect and repair new trains that were pulled for electrical malfunctions.

Last week, the MBTA removed several new Orange Line trains from service after an engineer discovered a failure in an electrical grounding component during a routine inspection. The issue was also found on some other new Orange Line cars. Since then, transit riders have dealt with delays of up to 15 minutes due to fewer trains in service.

On its official Twitter account Friday, the MBTA updated riders, saying crews have made repairs and are still performing weekly inspections to find the source of the electrical problem. But the transit agency is considering putting old Orange Line trains back in service as a “backup plan.”


Ten Orange Line trains must be running to meet the MBTA’s schedule. Currently, the T is running up to nine Orange Line trains.

The MBTA’s announcement said: “Orange Line Update: We replaced the power cable on all affected cars. We’re running up to 9 trains [and] working to get back to 10 as we continue weekly inspections to determine the issue’s root cause. We’re also developing a backup plan using some older cars temporarily if needed.”

Multiple people on social media praised the T’s transparency on the issue. 

“Thank you for this descriptive update and the backup plan to keep service levels better,” tweeted one person. “Thank you for giving specific details. This kind of transparency is greatly appreciated,” tweeted another. 

The electrical issue came to light three months after the T finished a monthlong shutdown of the Orange Line to make several upgrades and repairs. The revamp included a fleet of entirely new cars. On Dec. 22, days before the MBTA pulled the troubled new Orange Line trains, the agency sent a letter to its railcar manufacturer accusing the company of poor quality control and other unresolved issues. 

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


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