MBTA removes 11 safety speed restrictions on Green Line

March 13, 2024
Crews were able to complete the work due to unencumbered access to track areas while Green Line service was suspended on the B, C and D branches for 18 days.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has completed critical track work on the Green Line, which removed 11 safety-related speed restrictions. Crews accomplished the critical work due to unencumbered access to track areas while Green Line service was suspended on the B branch between Copley and Babcock Street, on the C branch between Copley and Cleveland Circle and on the D branch between Copley and Brookline Hills from Feb. 20 to March 8. 

Located near Ayr Road and Beacon Street in Brookline, Mass., one-speed restriction removed during the suspension on the C branch was the oldest in the system at more than 900 days old. MBTA says removing the restriction means service on the C branch will not be suspended in the fall as previously planned. 

Additionally, MBTA notes a thorough inspection confirms no relation exists between the Green Line work and the derailment that occurred on March 9 near Kenmore Station. Prior to reopening the Green Line at 5 a.m. on March 11 following the latest construction work, rigorous testing was conducted, including running multiple test trains. More than 70 Green Line trolleys had safely traveled through Kenmore Station prior to the incident. The post-derailment inspection corroborated the results from the post-diversion testing, confirming the switches were functioning without any defects, that all track and switch replacement work was successfully accomplished and the replaced track and switches are performing well. The investigation into the cause of the derailment is now isolated to the incident car itself. 

“The incredible amount of work that we accomplished, from tracks to signals to station work, during this 18-day shutdown is a testament to the dedicated workforce committed towards making meaningful improvements,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “We took full advantage of this outage and by closely coordinating internally and externally, we maximized the diversion opportunity, getting critical work done. It’s important for all to know that following Saturday’s derailment, we have determined the track work was completed properly. This was verified prior to reopening the Green Line and recertified post incident. I’m proud of the work done to date to reverse years of disinvestment but mindful of the work still ahead. The public deserves a safe and reliable system and we thank them for their patience and support as we continue tackling the challenges ahead to rebuild and restore our infrastructure.” 

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

Among the critical work: 

  • Approximately 13,000 feet of rail was installed by MBTA Maintenance of Way and contractor crews. 
  • More than 4,000 feet of restraining rail was replaced.  
  • More than 21,000 linear feet of track was tamped. 
  • More than 1,300 crossties were replaced and 93 rail welds were performed.  
  • Nearly 1,500 feet of full depth track construction was performed. 
  • More than 1,800 crosstie plates and more than 1,500 huck bolt assemblies, which connect the restraining rail to the running rail, were replaced. 
  • 2,850 feet of overhead catenary wire was replaced, with additional wire inspections performed. 
  • Critical switch installation and replacement work was performed. 
  • Station inspections were performed. 
  • Hands-on tunnel inspections were performed with leak sealing as needed. 
  • Work to install more electronic E Ink signs and solar panels at street-level Green Line stops was accomplished. 
  • Signal fiber was installed near Fenway station. 
  • Critical overhead catenary wire work was accomplished near the Fenway station portal area.  
  • Security and emergency management enhancements were performed.  

A variety of other in-station work also took place along the Green Line to further enhance the rider experience, including:  

  • Performing repairs and replacements of valves and piping within the Commonwealth Avenue pump room 
  • Cleaning, sanding and painting wooden station benches 
  • Fire retardant installations 
  • Station painting 
  • Yellow tactile edging repairs to platforms 
  • Flooring and tile repairs 
  • Concrete repairs 
  • Stairway upgrades and repairs, including handrail repairs  
  • Waste receptacle replacements 
  • Powerwashing and cleaning work 
  • Installing/replacing station signage 

The full list of removed safety-related speed restrictions can be found on MBTA’s website