T Sidelines New Orange Line Trains As Service Cuts Take Effect

A new Orange Line train at Assembly Station in summer 2019. Courtesy of the MBTA.
A new Orange Line train at Assembly Station in summer 2019. Courtesy of the MBTA.

Riders keen to find silver linings might reason that, with fewer trains running on the Orange and Red lines this week, we should at least have better odds of catching one of the T’s new trains.

This spring, the T had been running up to four new Orange Line trains at a time, giving riders roughly one-in-three odds of catching a new train. If the same number of new trains were running with only 10 trains in service on the line during rush hours this week, those odds would increase to two-in-five.

But since the T’s subway service cuts took effect on Monday,  there have, in fact, been zero new trains running on the Orange or Red Lines.

In spite of the timing, the T says that the reason has nothing to do with the operations control center staffing shortages that precipitated this week’s service cuts.

“An out-of-service car experienced a battery failure in the Wellington Yard early yesterday morning,” an MBTA spokesperson told StreetsblogMASS on Tuesday afternoon. “With safety being the top priority, the MBTA has decided to keep all of the new Orange Line and Red Line cars out of service while vehicle engineers and technicians work to determine the root cause of the failure and implement whatever corrective actions may be necessary.  An update on the status of the cars will be provided as soon as the engineering team completes its work.”

The T had previously pulled its entire fleet of new trains from service in late May, after its staff discovered a braking problem in one of the new trains.

On that occasion, the new trains returned to service within a week, after T engineers pinpointed the problem to a single bolt that had been improperly installed on that particular train and the other trains in the fleet passed detailed inspections.


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