MBTA completes critical track work on Red Line

Feb. 20, 2024
MBTA crews removed eight safety-related speed restrictions between Feb. 5 and Feb. 14.

On Feb. 16, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) successfully and on-time completed critical track work on the Red Line, which removed eight safety-related speed restrictions. 

The eight safety-related speed restrictions removed were:  

  1.  523856 Southbound between Davis and Porter 
  2. 524604 Southbound between Alewife and Davis 
  3. 541153 Southbound between Alewife and Davis 
  4. 523853    Northbound between Davis and Alewife     
  5. 523855    Southbound between Alewife and Davis     
  6. 000110    Northbound between Davis and Alewife     
  7. 570703    Southbound between Alewife and Davis     
  8. 524603 Southbound between Alewife and Davis 

MBTA crews received uninterrupted access to track areas while Red Line service was suspended between Alewife and Harvard stations for 10 days from Feb. 5 to Feb. 14 to complete the work. In the evenings beginning at approximately 8:45 p.m. during the same period from Feb. 5 to Feb. 14, the Red Line service suspension was extended to Park Street. 

“We are committed to rebuilding our infrastructure and the amount of work we were able to accomplish will improve service and reduce travel time along the Red Line,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “This is another major step in the right direction. While we successfully completed the work and eliminated these speed restrictions, we continually look for lessons learned to minimize impacts as we move forward and accomplish even more work during future outages. I thank our riders and the communities we serve for their patience and support. Thank you also to the MBTA team working side by side with contractor crews to deliver the results we promised.” 

MBTA says the work done on the Red Line will allow for fewer unplanned service disruptions related to older tracks, older infrastructure, signal issues or power problems.  

Crews continued to maximize the Red Line shutdown in several ways. With the access they received to Red Line stations, crews were able to accomplish station enhancements and amenity upgrades, including new flooring and lighting, which further improved the customer experience. Additionally, MBTA notes that through extensive planning and close coordination between contractor crews and multiple MBTA Operations departments, the authority was able to maximize the shutdown time by having numerous contractor crews and MBTA personnel working side-by-side and collaboratively within the tight and confined underground Red Line tunnel area to be as efficient as possible during the shutdown in service. 

Among the critical work: 

  • 2,500 feet of rail was installed. 
  • Successfully removed and replaced dozens of signal bonds, reinstalled approximately 3,500 feet of signal cable and performed work on many track circuits within the diversion area.  
  • Installed one switch and performed additional rail work. 
  • Regauged the third rail and other rail work at the Alewife crossover. 
  • Performed tunnel inspections along the southbound track between Harvard and Central stations, making repairs as needed. 
  • Performed repairs to ceiling areas throughout Davis station. 
  • Performed hands-on inspections of Alewife, Porter and Davis stations. 
  • Performed signal modernization work at Alewife, Davis, Porter and Harvard stations. 
  • Installed a new standpipe at Kendall/MIT station. 
  • Accomplished security camera improvements at Alewife, Porter and Davis stations. 

MBTA notes a variety of other in-station work also took place along the Red Line to further enhance the rider experience, including:  

  • Cleaning, sanding and painting wooden station benches 
  • Yellow tactile edging repairs to platforms, flooring and tile repairs 
  • Concrete repairs, stairway upgrades and repairs, including handrail repairs 
  • Waste receptacle replacements 
  • Plumbing and HVAC maintenance 
  • Installing/replacing station signage