MBTA makes significant progress on expedited critical track work on Orange Line

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Track and tie replacements were accomplished along the Orange Line. Complimentary photo by the MBTA Customer and Employee Experience Department.

The MBTA  announced the completion of critical track work on the Orange Line while service was suspended between Wellington and Back Bay stations from May 28 through June 6. As a result of unencumbered access to track areas, crews accomplished important work to lift nine safety-related speed restrictions within the diversion area with a tenth removed just outside the diversion area between Ruggles and Massachusetts Avenue. The work accomplished will result in a safer, more reliable trip for riders with fewer unplanned service disruptions.

“As we restore our track infrastructure across the system, the work during this Orange Line outage demonstrates our commitment to the public to deliver more reliable service. In just 10 days, we replaced over 12,000 feet of running rail in this area,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “With each diversion, we are identifying opportunities to become more efficient, maximizing the amount of work performed through improved planning, scoping, and close coordination between our Capital and Operations teams to lead hundreds of workers in tight constrained work locations. I’m proud of our workforce and our contractors working side by side as we deliver these critical upgrades for the public and our operators. There’s more work to do on the Orange Line at the end of this month, and I thank our riders for their patience while we work to deliver them a safer, smoother, and more reliable trip.”

The MBTA strategically planned work to remove speed restrictions between Downtown Crossing and Community College during this 10-day service suspension. Remaining speed restrictions between Community College and Sullivan Square will be addressed during the upcoming Orange Line service suspension at the end of June as previously announced.

Crews performed track work and more along the Orange Line. Complimentary photo by the MBTA Customer and Employee Experience Department.

The MBTA also collaborated with its partners at MassDOT during this Orange Line service suspension to support necessary work as part of MassDOT’s Maffa Way/Mystic Avenue Bridge Superstructure Replacements project, which will replace the two deteriorated bridge superstructures and improve bicycle, pedestrian, and transit facilities.

With unencumbered access to Orange Line stations, crews accomplished the following work:

  • Replaced over 12,000 feet of running rail.
  • Replaced 388 ties.
  • Resurfaced and tamped over 7,800 feet of track.
  • Performed over 1,100 feet of full depth track construction.
  • Replaced 84 cologne eggs. Cologne eggs are the fasteners that allow crews to directly affix rail to concrete pads on the Orange Line.
  • The Maintenance of Way team replaced approximately 250 plates.
  • Hand-tamped approximately 100 feet of track to alleviate a speed restriction.
  • The Maintenance of Way team installed 500 feet of rail at Sullivan Square.
  • Performed overhead station inspections of platforms, entrances, and lobbies at Sullivan Square, Community College, Tufts Medical Center, Haymarket, North Station, and State.
  • Performed tunnel inspections between Tufts Medical Center and North Station.
  • Accomplished security improvements at Chinatown.
  • Inspected electrical rooms at Tufts Medical Center to upgrade the station’s lighting.
  • Upgraded and performed accessibility improvements to the Community College entrance with new concrete and repairs made to the underlying slab.
  • Repaired Community College’s elevated walkway with new concrete for a smooth walkway surface.
  • Installed new cable, power wires, and fiber optic.
  • Reinstalled signal equipment from 60 track circuits.
  • Performed a variety of signal improvement work throughout the shutdown areas.

Crews also performed power cable improvements along the Orange Line. Complimentary photo by the MBTA Customer and Employee Experience Department.

As a result of this critical work, the following safety-related speed restrictions are no longer in place:

Speed Restriction Number

Restriction Information and Location

Status

  1. 000050

Northbound between Community College and North Station

Removed

  1. 000053

Southbound between Haymarket and State

Removed

  1. 000066

Southbound between North Station and Haymarket

Removed

  1. 000051

Southbound between Community College and North Station

Removed

  1. 000021

Southbound between Community College and North Station

Removed

  1. 000040

Southbound between North Station and Community College

Removed

  1. 000034

Northbound between Downtown Crossing and State

Removed

  1. 000035

Northbound between North Station and Community College

Removed

  1. 000067

Northbound between North Station and Community College

Removed

  1. 000065

Northbound between Ruggles and Massachusetts Avenue

Removed

 

A variety of other in-station work also took place along the Orange Line to further enhance the rider experience, including:

  • At Assembly:
    • Plumbing and roofing staff performed drain and leak improvements at the north Head House and platform area.
    • Painters repainted stairway ceilings and door areas.
  • At Sullivan Square:
    • Painters repainted walls, doors, platform columns, staff areas, tunnel areas, platforms, the crosswalk on the lower busway, and the underpass ceiling.
    • Sign shop staff and iron workers replaced signage where needed.
    • Bricklayers replaced floor tiles and fixed tripping hazards.
    • Iron workers installed new drains as needed.
  • At Community College:
    • Cement crews repaired tripping hazards at the end of the platform.
    • Painters repainted columns on the platform, ceiling beams, trash barrels, benches, and the platform shelter.
  • At North Station:
    • Sheet metal crews replaced a drain and performed leak mitigation near a signal along the northbound track area.
    • Iron workers installed approximately 400 feet of fencing on the southbound platform and replaced signs along the right of way.
  • At Haymarket:
    • Plumbers performed drain improvements and alleviated pooling water conditions on the platform.
    • Iron workers installed additional temporary fencing within the diversion area.
  • At State Street:
    • Carpenters removed and installed new signage.
    • Repairs were accomplished on five stairways.
  • At Downtown Crossing:
    • Iron workers replaced signage along the right of way.
    • Carpenters removed and installed new signage.
    • Repairs and anti-slip treading was added to five stairways. Handrail repairs were also accomplished on six stairways.
  • At Chinatown:
    • Iron workers replaced signage along the right of way and performed improvement work on drain grates throughout the station, including fabricating a new drain grate. 
    • Painters re-painted gates and stair risers.
  • At Tufts:
    • Bricklayers replaced flooring bricks at the escalator.
    • Labor crews cleaned signage throughout the diversion area.
    • Electricians installed 100 new LED lighting fixtures.
  • Sign Shop staff cleaned mile marker signs along the right of way and replaced all gate, elevator, escalator, platform and station signage/decals at Assembly, Sullivan Square, Community College, and North Station.
  • Power washing took place between Tufts Medical Center and Assembly.
  • Crews cleaned and rehabilitated restrooms areas and cleaned station areas throughout the shutdown area.

 

For more information, visit mbta.com/TrackProgram or connect with the T on X (the site formerly known as Twitter) @MBTA, Facebook /TheMBTAInstagram @theMBTA, Threads @thembta, or TikTok @thembta.

-MBTA

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