BOSTON (WHDH) - MBTA leadership said they are optimistic Orange Line service will resume on Monday, Sept. 19, when the rail line’s 30-day shutdown comes to an end. The project has gone so smoothly, in fact, that future shutdowns are on the table.
General Manager Steve Poftak gave an update on the shutdown Tuesday at Community College station, telling reporters that 82% of the work scheduled has been finished.
With 65% of rail replacement and 90% of track replacement work complete, he said the MBTA will be powering the rail’s systems back up and conducting testing over the weekend.
“We are in a great position to finish strong and finish on time,” Poftak said. “Safety continues to be our top priority – we’re gonna spend a lot of time over the weekend powering the system back up, inspecting the work, inspecting the signal system, doing a lot of testing, running test trains, so that we know that we’re ready to go on Monday morning.”
Test trains will be running on Sunday, with full service slated to resume the next day. Poftak also indicated additional work may be in the line’s future in the form of maintenance, but for now, all work is on track, including the removal of at least five slow zones on the line.
In a press release, the MBTA noted that for the first week of service, riders may notice the slow zones will still be in place for the following few days. The transportation authority noted that in the rail industry, temporary slow zones are needed after rail and ballast work to allow the infrastructure to “settle.”
Future shutdowns of a smaller magnitude on other lines are possible, Poftak said.
“We’re absolutely talking about it,” he said. “The MBTA needs a significant level of investment. I think our own work as well as the input from the (Federal Transit Administration) through the special directives has demonstrated clearly that we cannot get all this work done in a narrow window on the overnight.”
The MBTA said that 64 new Orange Line cars are ready to go, so riders will have over a 50% chance of riding in one once service resumes.
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