MBTA’s GLX Medford Branch to Open late November 2022

Aug. 8, 2022
Shuttle buses will replace Green Line service for four weeks between Government Center and Union Square beginning Aug. 22 to help facilitate the opening of the new branch.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Green Line Extension (GLX) Medford Branch is expected to open in late November 2022. 

In order help facilitate the opening and to allow crews to perform final-phase construction work, temporary shuttle buses will replace all Green Line service between Government Center and Union Square Stations in both directions beginning Aug. 22, through Sept. 18. This diversion in service is also necessary to allow for continued work at the private Government Center Garage project. Regular Green Line trolley service will resume at these stops on Sept. 19. 

The opening date of the Medford Branch has been shifted from its previous target date of late summer 2022 to late November 2022 due to several contributing factors, including necessary additional work and re-testing of the Medford Branch’s power systems. Much of the work to be performed during the diversion in service from Aug. 22 to Sept. 18 is tied to the opening of the Medford Branch, including the advancement of final-phase construction elements on the GLX project and the East Cambridge Viaduct.  

The start date has also been affected by the availability of safety and operational support crews that were previously prioritized for GLX, but are now re-allocated to other critical MBTA construction work, including in the MBTA’s response to the Federal Transit Administration’s Safety Management Inspection directives. The MBTA says it is in full support of making these safety-related changes and appreciates the support of riders and the public as the Medford Branch is brought into passenger service. 

The temporary diversion of Green Line riders onto shuttle buses will provide contractors with around-the-clock access to the tracks and overhead wire system, enabling them to safely and quickly complete work deemed critical to the opening of the new Medford Branch. 

Scheduled activities include: 

  • Adjustments to the overhead wire on the East Cambridge Viaduct that will eliminate a temporary 10 mph speed restriction, allowing trolleys to operate at the system’s designed speed of 25 mph on a permanent basis. The higher speed is necessary to maintain proper schedule intervals as five new Medford Branch stations are added to the system. 
  • The final testing and integration of track switches, power lines, signal equipment and digital communications between the Green Line’s currently operating Union Branch, the soon-to-be-operational Medford Branch and the MBTA’s Operations Control Center (OCC). 
  • The installation of the last remaining sound wall panels along the Union Branch and non-critical work items along the Medford Branch. 
  • Additional last work and various outstanding construction items along the Union and Medford Branches’ tracks, stations and rights of way. 
  • During this temporary diversion in service, Green Line riders traveling inbound and outbound between Government Center and Union Square will board free and accessible shuttle buses, which will make stops at Lechmere Station and the Lechmere station bus loop.  
  • Passenger service along the GLX’s first of two branches, the Union Branch, began in March 2022. Trolley testing along the second branch, the Medford Branch, began (without passengers) on May 14, 2022. After the upcoming diversion, non-passenger trolley testing along the Medford Branch will resume and will continue until the opening day of passenger service in late November 2022.