BOSTON — It was a frustrating day after a train derailment on the Red Line left hundreds of riders stranded, scrambling to figure out how to get to and from work.
The derailment, which happened in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday, is still affecting MBTA riders and likely will continue to impact commutes for a little while longer.
While the MBTA hasn't established a clear timeline for when repairs will be done and service will resume normally and without residual delays, a set of tweets sent out Wednesday morning from the MBTA's official account paints a vague picture of what to expect.
Riders were told to expect delays of at least 20 minutes during their Wednesday morning commute. However, many on social media contested the estimated delay time, saying crowds were waiting for over half an hour and trains have been too full to board.
According to the MBTA, the derailed train struck multiple signal bungalows - the sheds that house the hardware that controls the signal system - outside of the JFK/UMass stop.
The signal system indicates which trains have permission from the control center to move from one station to another, one train at a time. Without it, MBTA employees will be needed along the tracks to physically set routes to direct the trains.
Not having a signal system makes tracking trains, updating GPS applications and correctly displaying countdown clocks a little more difficult. The MBTA says they've turned off the countdown clocks across the Red Line to "avoid inaccurate predictions" of time.
As far as the work that needs to be done, the transportation agency says bungalows will need to be rebuilt, new signals and cables must be installed and tracks will also need to be repaired. In one of the tweets in the thread, the MBTA says "at this time, [they] can't say how long that will take."
For now, the MBTA says trains will continue to travel at lower speeds, asking riders to allow for extra time in their commutes and use all available resources.
On Wednesday morning, the transportation agency also announced they would be suspending Red Line service at 11 a.m. for about three hours as part of the ongoing work to repair signal infrastructure. Shuttle buses will replace service between North Quincy and JFK/UMass during this time. Red Line train service is expected to resume before the start of the late afternoon commuting period.
Braintree branch customers will need to change trains at JFK/UMass for continuing Red Line service to South Station. Service will resume for Ashmont-bound customers and customers heading inbound on the Ashmont branch will not need to switch trains at JFK/UMass.
CharlieCards and CharlieTickets will continue to be accepted on the Middleborough/Lakeville, Kingston/Plymouth, Greenbush, and Fairmount lines, as well as the Fitchburg Line from Porter Square to North Station.
Red Line customers are encouraged to utilize supplemental Commuter Rail trains providing inbound service Wednesday morning between South Station, JFK/UMass, Quincy Center, and Braintree. Passengers should show their CharlieCards or CharlieTickets in order to board.
The MBTA has made over $3 billion in capital investments with a plan to invest $8 billion over the next five years. In FY18, the MBTA invested $875 million in its capital program -- the most ever for a fiscal year.
The Administration is investing nearly $2 billion in the Red Line and Orange Line Improvement Program, between new cars and infrastructure improvements. That includes over $1 billion for new cars to completely replace the fleets of the Orange and Red Lines, $470.36 million for Orange and Red Line track improvements, and upgrades to the Wellington maintenance facility and the Red Line’s maintenance facilities. The Red and Orange Line signal systems will be completely updated and $151 million is being invested in state of good repair for the Red and Orange lines.
The first of 152 new Orange Line cars are being tested right now with the first car expected to be in service in summer 2019. Next year, the first of 252 Red Line cars will be tested.
This was the second derailment on the Red Line in less than a month. Less than a week ago, a train derailed on the Green Line - an incident which the MBTA has already said is unrelated to Tuesday morning's derailment.
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