More time needed to repair gauge issues on Green Line extension, MBTA says

Green and white light rail vehicle at station
The first train departs the Medford/Tufts station on the Green Line extension on Monday, Dec. 12, 2022, in a screen shot from an MBTA video. Work to repair out-of-gauge track on the extension will take longer than had previously been projected, the MBTA has announced.

BOSTON — Work to repair track that was built out-of-gauge on the Green Line extension that opened last year will not be completed by Monday, Dec. 11, as originally projected, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has announced.

Project builder GLX Constructors, or GLXC, which requested additional repair time, has been granted an additional seven nights, to at least Sunday, Dec. 17, meaning that evening shuttle bus service replacing rail operations on the Union Square and Medford/Tufs branches will continue. The shuttle bus substitution, which started on Nov. 27, begins at 8:45 each evening.

“The MBTA is committed to ensuring that GLXC completes this work safely, thoroughly and expeditiously,” MBTA CEO Phillip Eng said in a Friday, Dec. 8, press release. “We are disappointed that they could not complete their work on the Green Line Extension on the timeline that they previously projected and, at our direction, they will be bringing in more resources, including more crews. We apologize to riders for this inconvenience, and we will continue to do everything in our power to deliver the longer-term, safe, and reliable service that they expect and deserve.”

Along, with directing the contractor to deploy additional resources on the project, the MBTA said it has directed GLXC to commit a complete list of its staff, the experience level of the workforce accountable for completing the work, and a production schedule including a full list of resources dedicated to the repair work.

The MBTA announced in October that a majority of the 4.7-mile extension, opened in Dec. 12, 2022, was built with track narrower than standard gauge, leading to slow orders in September that reduced speeds to as low as 3 mph [see “MBTA Green Line extension was built …,” Trains News Wire, Oct. 19, 2023].

More Green Line work begins Dec. 11

Meanwhile, as part of its project to eliminate all current speed restrictions by the end of 2024, the MBTA will shut down the Green Line D branch between the Kenmore and Riverside stations from Monday, Dec. 11, through Wednesday, Dec. 20. Free shuttle bus service will substitute for the rail service, with express serviced between key D branch stations and downtown during the morning and evening rush-hour periods. More information on the maintenance project and shuttle bus service is available here.

The first round of Green Line repairs was completed on Dec. 5 and eliminated 12 speed restrictions while reducing two others [see “MBTA completes Green Line work …,” News Wire, Dec. 7, 2023].

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