Infrastructure projects in Hartford, Windsor lead to changes beginning July 18
NEWINGTON, Conn. — Most Hartford Line service by CTrail and Amtrak will be replaced by buses for almost two months beginning July 18 to allow the Connecticut Department of Transportation to complete infrastructure projects in Hartford and Windsor, Conn.
At Hartford Union Station, the platform canopy will be replaced, with new roofing and lighting over the passenger platforms, as well as gutter replacement to improve drainage and prevent flooding. A slope stabilization project in Windsor will include track work and maintenance of the Hartford Line communiation and signal system.
As a result, bus service will replace most trains from July 18 through Sept. 11. A detailed bus schedule will be posted by Friday, July 1; bus departures may be earlier than the usual train departure times. Train fares will be in effect for the bus service, which will stop at all Hartford Line stations.
A press release from the Connecticut DOT says the work cannot be done while the rail line is active, and that the service changes will allow the projects to be completed as quickly as possible. More information will be available at websites for the Hartford Line and Amtrak.
Green, Orange lines had been closed because of structural concerns over parking garage
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority restored service on two subway lines Sunday evening, ending a shutdown over structural concerns about a downtown Boston parking garage above the subway tunnels.
The agency said in a statement the move to restore full service on the Green and Orange lines followed “a comprehensive inspection of the infrastructure by internal and third-party engineers and safety experts, an intensive assessment of the repair work performed, and subsequent testing of trains in the tunnels,” and that the developer behind work on the Government Center Garage “has installed the necessary supports to uphold the structure.”
The MBTA said structural engineers will continue to monitor the location as trains operate.
Segments of both lines were shut down suddenly on Thursday after the MBTA said support columns for the garage, which pass through the MBTA tunnels, were “severely deteriorated, creating an unsafe environment in the tunnels.” [see “MBTA halts service …,” Trains News Wire, June 24, 2022]. The agency blamed the developer involved in demolition of the garage for the problem, while that company said the column was “compromised from years of water damage” and the problem was unrelated to the demolition.
Streets near the garage that had been closed have also been reopened.
Work on the same parking garage led to a suspension of service on the two lines in March and April, after part of the structure collapsed, killing a worker [see “Service disrupted on two MBTA transit lines,” News Wire, March 28, 2022].
‘Severely deteriorated’ column supporting parking garage disrupts Orange, Green lines
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has suspended some service on its Orange and Green Line subway lines in downtown Boston after the discovery of what the agency termed “a structural issue” with a parking garage being demolished.
The MBTA said in a Thursday press release that the company demolishing the Government Center Parking Garage had advised the agency that garage support columns that pass through MBTA tunnels near the Haymarket station are “severely deteriorated, creating an unsafe environment in the tunnel.” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said the issue is a result of the construction work “and the MBTA will seek to hold HYM Construction accountable for all costs associated with this event. … as a result of this private party’s project, we must divert trains until the tunnels can be inspected and cleared by independent experts.”
Service will not resume until structural engineers conduct examinations and any necessary repairs are completed. In the interim, bus bridges will operate on the Green Line between the Lechmere and Government Center stations; the Haymarket station is closed and will not be served by buses. Orange Line service is suspended between Bay Back and North Station. More information on closures and options is available here.
WCVB-TV reports that HYM Investment Group, which is part of the Government Center garage ownership, had earlier contended that the problem was not related to the garage demolition, saying that a column near the rail lines “was identified as compromised from years of water damage.”
The city of Boston said it had closed some streets in the area as a precautionary measure while the column underwent further analysis.
MBTA service in the same area was suspended earlier this year after a partial collapse of the Government Center garage during demolition, an accident which killed a construction worker [see “Service disrupted on two MBTA transit lines,” Trains News Wire, March 28, 2022].
Troubled agency also deals with report of runaway incident, plans for legislative hearing
BOSTON — In the latest setback for its newest rapid-transit equipment, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has pulled its new Orange and Red Line cars from service after what officials called a “battery failure” on one of the cars.
Meanwhile, the agency — hit last week by a series of directives from the Federal Transit Administration to address safety issues — is also dealing with reports of a recent runaway-equipment incident, and is facing an oversight hearing by state legislators.
WCVB-TV reports the incident occurred on an out-of-service train at the MBTA’s Wellington Yard early Monday morning, with an agency spokesman saying the cars will remain out of service “while vehicle engineers and technicians work to determine the root cause of the failure and implement whatever corrective actions may be necessary.”
It is the latest issue for the cars built in Springfield, Mass., by a subsidiary of Chinese manufacturer CRRC. In May, the cars were removed from service after a braking issue led to the discovery of improperly installed bolts on a number of cars [see “More bolt issues found …,” Trains News Wire, May 27, 2022]. Last year, the cars were sidelined after a derailment partially blamed on problems with the cars’ trucks [see “MBTA says issues with wheelsets led to Orange Line derailment,” News Wire, June 7 2021].
Also on Monday, NBC Boston reported it had obtained video showing four cars of a Red Line train rolling through a station in Braintree, Mass., with no operator or passengers on board. In the May 30 incident, the last four cars detached from a train heading to the yard from the Braintree station, rolling back through the station before eventually stopping.
In one of a series of safety directives issued last week, the Federal Transit Administration ordered the MBTA to change its procedures for moving defective equipment, citing five runaway incidents in yards or maintenance facilities [see “Federal directives order MBTA to address safety issues,” News Wire, June 15, 2022].
Also, the Boston Globe reports the long list of MBTA issues have led Massachusetts Senate President Karen E. Spilka and House Speaker Ronald Mariano to announce the legislature’s transportation committee will hold a hearing on the agency’s problems.
“Given the FTA’s interim findings and alarming directives, there is an increased need to better understand the agency’s shortcomings and help restore public confidence,” the legislators said in a statement.
A date for the hearing has not been set.