Local News

Green Line Extension back at full speed after MBTA addresses narrow tracks

The Union Square branch also reopened early after MassDOT wrapped up its Squires Bridge repairs ahead of schedule.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
In some sections of the Green Line Extension, trolleys were slowed to a crawl last month after the MBTA discovered the tracks were too narrow in places. David L. Ryan/Boston Globe Staff, File

The MBTA’s Green Line Extension is back at full speed after the recent discovery of narrow tracks temporarily slowed trains to a 3 mph crawl in some areas.

The T said it uncovered the defects last month during a regularly scheduled geometry scan, a process used to identify issues that may be invisible to the naked eye. At the time, the transit agency said it was unclear how the tracks along the Union Square and Medford branches — the newest in the T’s system — had become too narrow. 

On Wednesday, however, MBTA General Manager Phil Eng announced that the agency had removed all speed restrictions on both GLX branches, “in keeping with our commitment last month to expedite track repair work” during the Union Square branch closure

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The branch was shuttered while the Massachusetts Department of Transportation made repairs to Squires Bridge, which runs over the tracks near Union Square. The closure was initially supposed to begin in July and last 42 days, but Gov. Maura Healey’s administration later postponed the start date to September and consolidated the timeline to 25 days.


The Union Square branch was meant to be closed through Oct. 12, coinciding with another Green Line service disruption between North Station and Government Center. The Green Line remains closed between those stations through Thursday due to the ongoing demolition of the Government Center Garage.

In the end, MassDOT completed its Squires Bridge repairs earlier than planned, and the Union Square branch was back up and running Wednesday morning, the agency said in a news release. 

“We’re proud to have completed repairs of the Squires Bridge ahead of schedule and to have resumed Green Line train service in this area as quickly and safely as possible,” Acting Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt said in a statement. 

She added: “We’re grateful to MBTA riders for their patience, to the MassDOT engineers and contractors for their hard work, and to Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll for challenging us to think bigger about how we could shorten the construction timeline to minimize the impact on riders.”


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