Some speed restrictions remain in place as MBTA continues to investigate safety issues

BOSTON — The MBTA has lifted the global speed restrictions on three of the train lines that were slowed down Thursday night. Some restrictions remain as MBTA officials continue to investigate safety violations uncovered on Thursday.

The Red, Orange and Blue line trains no longer have global speed restrictions Friday, MBTA interim general manager Jeff Gonneville announced in a press conference.

The MBTA’s Green and Mattapan Lines are still subject to global speed restrictions, limiting the cars to a top speed of 25 miles per hour and 10 miles per hour when going around corners.

The Red, Blue and Orange Lines now only have certain areas with slow zones.

Although riders weren’t notified until after 10 p.m., the MBTA started implementing the speed restrictions around 5:30 p.m. Thursday night, according to Gonneville.

In an unprecedented move following the discovery of several violations, the MBTA implemented speed restrictions on the Red, Orange, Blue, and Green Lines, adding additional travel time for commuters.

Subway trains on those lines were limited to 10 to 25 miles an hour. Normally, the trains travel up to 40 miles an hour.

The speed restrictions were the result of several safety violations that were discovered by Department of Public Utilities inspectors during a recent site visit of the Red Line between Ashmont and Savin Hill.

During a safety subcommittee meeting Thursday, MBTA officials said the DPU found six violations during the inspection of the southbound stretch of Red Line track.

The DPU then sent letters to the MBTA, requiring them to come up with an action plan and ways to fix the violations. The MBTA was ordered to address the safety violations by the end of the workday Friday.

Between March 3 and 5, the DPU said it found the following:

  • A couple of trains overshot a station platform
  • Defective track conditions on the red line
  • Subway operators weren’t using headlights when required
  • Several third-rail insulators were defective
  • Signal control boxes and access panels weren’t securely closed
  • Inspectors observed a worker not wearing a hard hat worker wasn’t wearing a hard hat

On March 6, the DPU requested supporting documentation for completed work to address findings from earlier geometry car tests. When MBTA leadership found the documentation to be inadequate, the transit organization input the speed restrictions in an effort to prioritize safety.

“This decision was made with the safety of our riders and employees in mind,” the MBTA said in a statement.

A Boston 25 News crew took a ride on the Red line from Ashmont to Savin Hill Thursday night. It took 13 minutes and at some points, the train did slow down substantially.

“Crazy, that’s why we’re always late for work,” said Dermot Joyce, a Red Line commuter. “Between Broadway and South station, it slows down, it’s crazy. Yeah, it’s bad.”

Commuters told our Boston 25 crew they are frustrated and are tired of talking to commuters who say they are just frustrated with the constant issues on the T.

“In the last three years its gone downhill terribly,” Joyce added. “There are always delays, a train breaks down.”

Fellow Red Line commuter Anthony Reed said, “All of this is supposed to be for improvements, I’m not seeing improvements happen. I realize it’s a complex situation but it’s affecting people that need to need to be at work early and don’t have cars...Safety has to be paramount. Obviously, there’s been enough accidents, there have been enough problems of people being hurt but other cities seem to have magical systems. Do something that someone else is doing. We’re not doing it right and we’re not doing it right by the people.”

In their Friday morning press conference, the MBTA also asked riders for their patience as officials continue to inspect and perform work on segments of the subway track over the weekend.

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