Orange Line Closure Work is 69% Complete; 60 New Cars Ready for Service

Posted on September 9, 2022

Today, the MBTA announced that 69% of the work taking place along the Orange Line during the 30-day closure is complete and 60 new Orange Line cars are available for the restart of service.

“With less than 10 days remaining in this ambitious project, the work crews up and down the line have us in a great position to finish strong and on time,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “We are looking forward to welcoming back Orange Line customers with a smoother, safer, and more comfortable ride. And with 60 new cars ready for service when Orange Line surge work is done, this means the Orange Line fleet will predominantly be made up of new cars.”

At least 60 new Orange Line cars will be available when service resumes, supporting riders during peak commuting periods. This is up from 30 cars, when the Orange Line shutdown first started. This is also a full complement of new Orange Line cars ready to serve riders, meaning 10 six-car trains comprised of entirely new cars. This milestone was accomplished by completing repairs on existing vehicles, and by adding six new Orange Line vehicles that will enter passenger service for the first time at the end of the surge.

More than 69% of the planned work has been completed, including a project which has removed a slow zone on the Orange Line at Jackson Square through the installation of special track work. Crews also previously completed rail replacement between Downtown Crossing and State, which also removed a slow zone in that area. These are two of six slow zones the MBTA is addressing during the Orange Line full closure. Customers are advised that when Orange Line trains begin running again, slow zones will temporarily continue to be in place for approximately one week where the work was done as it will take time for the new track and new ballast to “settle.” In the rail industry, it is a given that after new track and ballast installation, due to the amount of track area disturbed during work, slow zones need to temporarily remain in place, giving time for settlement to occur as trains repeatedly run over these areas.

Overall, MBTA teams have completed approximately 50% percent of rail replacement, which is about 7,000 feet of rail, and 72% of track replacement. The full depth track replacement includes the ballast, ties, and rail.

About 98% of the special track work is complete. The special track renewal work includes replacing crossover areas.

And about 55% of Cologne egg and rail fastener work is finished near Tufts Medical Center station. Cologne eggs are the fasteners that allow crews to directly affix rail to the concrete pads, which are also utilized on certain parts of the Orange Line. The MBTA is aiming to install 400 new eggs with 206 fully complete. The Cologne egg work takes a significant amount of pre-work, though this work is also progressing as planned.

There has also been excellent progress on the ongoing signal testing at Oak Grove and Malden Center stations with about 65% of these signal upgrades complete.

General Manger Poftak discussed the progress of work today with members of the media at Wellington station adjacent to some of the new Orange Line cars. This photograph was taken this morning.

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak updates members of the media standing at a podium in front of 3 new Orange Line subway cars.