Gov. Baker: Reforms are coming following MBTA derailments

DORCHESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - As Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority crews work to fix major damage caused by a derailed Red Line train, Gov. Charlie Baker says it could be days before officials even know when normal service will resume.

Baker addressed the media Thursday to offer updates on the ongoing repair work being done to get the Red Line back to normal service following the second MBTA derailment in just four days.

“They’re not going to know the answer to the question about when for probably several more days as they continue to review the damage that was done,” Baker said.

A Red Line train derailed at the JFK/UMASS station in Dorchester Tuesday, causing major damage to the tracks, signals, and switches.

Baker said he understands commuters are tired of the constant delays.

“I think everybody is frustrated about the inconvenience that is going to be associated with this repair work,” he said.

The Red Line derailment was the second in four days following a Green Line derailment the Saturday before that has been blamed on operator error.

All this comes as fares are set to increase next month.

“We don’t think it is fair for state leaders to ask MBTA riders and drivers for more patience,” said Chris Dempsey, the director of Transportation for Massachusetts, a transportation advocacy coalition. “People are fed up.”

Transportation advocates and city officials have been calling on Baker to spend more to fix the system.

“We want to see the governor double down on that investment,” Dempsey said. “We want to see him have more urgency about just how bad this problem is.”

RELATED: MBTA head calls for outside review after 2 derailments cause widespread disruption

Baker said that reforms are coming and that he stands by the amount of money that he is putting into the project.

“I think everybody would like the ‘T’ to be fixed tomorrow and we certainly put the resources on the table,” Baker said. “The largest four-year investment in history of the ‘T’, to invest in its infrastructure. But, we can’t shut the ‘T’ down to do the work every day, all day.”

It is still unclear what caused the derailment.

Red Line Service continues to run at reduced levels while they make the repairs.

The MBTA issued the following Red Line schedule update for Wednesday night, Thursday and Friday:

  • Braintree branch customers will continue to change trains at JFK/UMass for continuing Red Line service.
  • Service has resumed for Ashmont-bound customers and customers will not need to switch trains at JFK/UMass. Customers should plan an additional 20 minutes of commuting time.
  • Braintree branch customers can continue to take the Middleborough/Lakeville, Kingston/Plymouth, or Greenbush Commuter Rail Lines (note: Greenbush stops at JFK/UMass and Quincy Center, but not Braintree).
  • Ashmont branch customers can take the Fairmount Line. Red Line customers can also take the Fitchburg Line from Porter Square to North Station. Customers can show their CharlieCards or CharlieTickets for Commuter Rail service.

The MBTA issued the following Commuter Rail update for Wednesday night and Thursday:

  • Similar to yesterday evening and this morning, the Commuter Rail will operate supplemental outbound service this evening and inbound service Thursday morning between South Station, JFK/UMass, Quincy Center, and Braintree. A Commuter Rail schedule for Friday will be released tomorrow.
  • If a customer’s origin or destination station is any of these four stations, it is strongly encouraged to use this supplemental Commuter Rail service, which provides a direct, one-seat ride for the same cost as subway fare.
  • Passengers should show their CharlieCards or CharlieTickets in order to board.

Potential weekend service disruptions have not yet been announced.

 

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