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T Knocks Out 10 More Slow Zones On the Orange Line

Workers replace rails in a subway tunnel, with a station platform visible in the distance.

Workers replace tracks near the MBTA’s Community College Orange Line station in Boston in June 2024. Photo courtesy of the MBTA.

Editor's note: this article is an edited copy of an MBTA press release.

The MBTA today announced the completion of critical track work on the Orange Line while service was suspended between Wellington and Back Bay stations from May 28 through June 6. As a result of unencumbered access to track areas, crews accomplished important work to lift nine safety-related speed restrictions within the diversion area with a tenth removed just outside the diversion area between Ruggles and Massachusetts Avenue. The work accomplished will result in a safer, more reliable trip for riders with fewer unplanned service disruptions.

An animated gif illustrates the T's slow zones map before and after its 2-week Orange Line closure in June. The first frame shows slow zones on June 1, and the next frame shows June 12, with 10 fewer slow zone icons, principally along the central segment of the Orange Line between Community College and Back Bay.

"In just 10 days, we replaced over 12,000 feet of running rail in this area,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “With each diversion, we are identifying opportunities to become more efficient, maximizing the amount of work performed through improved planning, scoping, and close coordination between our Capital and Operations teams to lead hundreds of workers in tight constrained work locations."

With unencumbered access to Orange Line stations, crews accomplished the following work:

  • Replaced over 12,000 feet of running rail.
  • Replaced 388 ties.
  • Resurfaced and tamped over 7,800 feet of track.
  • Performed over 1,100 feet of full depth track construction.
  • Replaced 84 "cologne eggs" – the fasteners that allow crews to directly affix rail to concrete pads on the Orange Line.
  • The Maintenance of Way team replaced approximately 250 plates.
  • Hand-tamped approximately 100 feet of track to alleviate a speed restriction.
  • The Maintenance of Way team installed 500 feet of rail at Sullivan Square.
  • Performed overhead station inspections of platforms, entrances, and lobbies at Sullivan Square, Community College, Tufts Medical Center, Haymarket, North Station, and State.
  • Performed tunnel inspections between Tufts Medical Center and North Station.
  • Accomplished security improvements at Chinatown.
  • Inspected electrical rooms at Tufts Medical Center to upgrade the station’s lighting.
  • Upgraded and performed accessibility improvements to the Community College entrance with new concrete and repairs made to the underlying slab.
  • Repaired Community College’s elevated walkway with new concrete for a smooth walkway surface.
  • Installed new cable, power wires, and fiber optic cable.
  • Reinstalled signal equipment from 60 track circuits.
  • Performed a variety of signal improvement work throughout the shutdown areas.

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