MBTA ‘optimistic’ it can lift speed restriction on Green Line Saturday, GM says

The Green Line is the last of the T's subway lines to have a global speed restriction in place following last week's systemwide slowdowns.

A Green Line train arrives at the MBTA Park Street station in Boston. Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe

The MBTA is “optimistic” it will be able to lift the global speed restriction on the Green Line at the start of service Saturday, interim General Manager Jeffrey Gonneville said Friday afternoon.

The Green Line was the last of the subway lines to have blanket speed restrictions in place after the T implemented systemwide slowdowns last week when it discovered some of its documentation on track repairs was missing or inconsistent

Previously capped at 10 to 25 mph, the Green Line will instead see localized block speed restrictions, stretches of track that may include multiple defects in need of investigation or correction, Gonneville said at a press conference. The length of those block restrictions gradually shrinks as that work unfolds, he explained.

More on slow zones

“As we continue to verify and validate track conditions, I’ll report on our findings and I will take the necessary actions to ensure that this never happens again,” Gonneville said.


He added: “A full and complete investigation is in process and I will take all necessary actions at the conclusion of the investigation.”

Once the Green Line’s global restrictions are lifted, the T expects that speed restrictions will cover 16.5% of its light rail track, according to Gonneville. 

He said the T is making gradual progress and expects to lift more speed restrictions over the coming days, though he noted that some restrictions will require repairs and take longer to resolve.  

“I remain focused on the safety of fixing this system,” Gonneville said. “That is what our riders want and deserve, and that is my primary responsibility — the safety of our transit system.”

The MBTA announced last Thursday that it would cap speeds at 25 mph across all its lines following a site visit from the state’s Department of Public Utilities, which oversees its rail safety. When the DPU asked for documentation on recent track repairs, the T said it found that documentation “inadequate” and put the speed restrictions in place until it could verify the repairs. 

The transit agency lifted global restrictions on the Red, Orange, and Blue lines the next day, with the Mattapan Line following earlier this week. 


Gonneville said Friday that he is satisfied with the progress the T has made over the last week as it validates and addresses repairs. 

He didn’t say whether anyone in the agency had been disciplined or fired over the lackluster documentation, citing the ongoing investigation. However, if the investigation determines that the T needs to make personnel changes, “then certainly the MBTA would take that position,” Gonneville said.  

In the meantime, “riders should continue to plan for longer headways and additional travel time throughout the system,” Gonneville said. 

However, he said the T is equipped to handle the influx of riders for Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.


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