MBTA returns new Orange Line cars to service after braking unit investigation clears

May 24, 2022
One braking unit was found to have an incorrectly installed bolt, but the authority temporarily pulled its fleet “out of an abundance of caution.”

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) new Orange Line cars have returned to service after they were temporarily pulled while an issue with one of the cars braking units could be investigated.

MBTA removed all new Orange Line trains last Thursday when a problem presented itself in one of the train’s 48 braking units at Wellington Station “and it went disabled.” MBTA says it removed all new cars “out of an abundance of caution” to allow its engineers and technicians to determine a cause of the issue. The authority notes the problem did not present a hazard to riders or employees.

MBTA reports preliminary findings indicate a single bolt in one of the car's eight braking units had not been properly installed at the manufacturing plant.

“With safety as the number one priority, MBTA vehicle maintenance personnel started a fleet-wide process to verify that each bolt (24 per car, 144 per train) was properly installed. As each bolt on a six-car train passes inspection, the train is being returned to passenger service. To this point in the inspection process, the issue has not been found in any other braking units,” said MBTA

CRRC MA Corporation was awarded a contract in 2014 from the MBTA to design and manufacture 152 new Orange Line trains, as well as 252 Red Line subway cars. The first of the new Orange Line trains entered service in August 2019.

The new Orange Line cars incorporated several new features including more spacious interiors, LED lighting, automatic passenger counters, closed circuit cameras and video recording and onboard diagnostics for operators and maintenance staff.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.