Globe runs cool story about T workers using ancient machines to keep antique Orange Line running; then the trains die

At Tufts.Tufts crowd. Photo by Lalunkee.

A couple days after the Globe highlighted the workers who keep the ancient Orange Line running, hundreds of commuters found themselves on steaming platforms waiting for trains that just didn't come, thanks to two dead trains that had to be pulled out of service right during the afternoon rush hour.

First a train struggled but failed to make it past North Station on its way to Forest Hills, around 4:40 p.m. Then a train that claimed to be on its way to Oak Grove instead proved it was on the way to train Valhalla, gumming up the line and leaving passengers waiting for upwards of 25 minutes for a ride home.

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Oak Grove

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not Oak Square. That would be altogether a whole different problem...

*Ms. Frizzle, MBTA Conductor*

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The Orange Line

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is the most bad-a** of all MBTA subway lines.

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I will sound like a broken

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I will sound like a broken record.

On a weekly basis or more, we have broken down trains that are causing very dangerous crowd conditions on the platforms, not to mention the cumulative hours wasted in commuting delays.

Yet we have a federal government in bed with companies in the explosives detection business, who have convinced the likes of Secretary Napolitano that if millions upon millions of dollars are not spent to have their swabs test the bags of a minute fraction of transit riders, trains would be blowing up left and right.

There's something very wrong with a country that spends countless billions of dollars each year on homeland "security", yet whose riders in one of the nation's largest transit systems are riding in 40-year-old cars that are breaking down daily.

Which is the greater threat to our nation's transportation network? Terrorists or crumbling infrastructure?

Just a thought.

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Well said, Saul! Bravo!

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And we're supposed to accept cuts in services, worsening of already bad MBTA services and MBTA fare hikes on top of that all? This is as disgusting as can be, especially since this country as a whole is not only throwing good money after bad at our "home security" bullshit, but on invading countries abroad for no reason except to force them to bow to our will.

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be a man and bike through the

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be a man and bike through the rain, and snow. Only take the T when it's too dangerous due to ice. You can still bike 98% of the time though.

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and these are the most reliable vehicles!

Yup. heavy rail red, orange, and blue line cars go much further between failures than commuter trains, buses, and especially green line trains.

So, what do we do? Yup, spend over $1B to overtax equipment and service garages with more track, stations, and mileage! Its worse than getting more credit cards to make minimum payments on existing ones. A better plan would be to get maintenance backlogs, old gear, old wiring, old tracks, old stations, and efficiency constraints all in order before expanding.

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Wrong. Wrong. Just wrong. The

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Wrong. Wrong. Just wrong. The MBTA is just another example of the Taxachusetts welfare state coddling immigrants and Irish too lazy to take responsibility for their own actions.

What we need to do is lower taxes on the highest income earners so that their trickle-down spending, drip-dropping down on the heads of all of these deadbeat people who don't earn enough to pay taxes, will benefit all of the state. It will spur growth to build new highways and parking garages and end this Communist, Fascist, Socialist, Nazi waste of a public transit system.

End the MBTA. They assumed too much debt imposed on them by the legislature and obviously are not responsible since they spend such a high percentage of their budget paying off that debt instead of using capital to maintain or improve their infrastructure. If the riders aren't willing to pay fares equal to the cost of running the system, we must build more highways and provide ways for people to drive and park everywhere cheaply.

Cripes

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snark...

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Now...if I'm not mistaken...I'm pretty sure that's snark...sarcasm...wiseassness.... right?

I've been told my meter's been off lately...(gettin all metasnark on you).

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I do believe you are correct...

...and, BTW, I am having second thoughts (or at least some uncertainty) on my previous correction of your assessment of another post. ;~}

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No.

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No.

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Wrong

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A better plan would be to understand that THE AREA NEEDS BETTER AND MORE PUBLIC TRANSIT, and fund it.

Simple.

So ... the next time some Western Masshole State Senator or Rep shoots off his festering gob about "paying for cities", we send them the $100 MILLION DOLLAR BILL for Hurricane Irene.

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Part of a much larger pattern

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The poor quality of maintenance is part of a larger and longer perception of public transportation as a necessary evil - to be tolerated but never celebrated. The former conditions of the Dorchester stations are good examples of rehabilitation that was long overdue. Stalactites hanging from the roof at the Shawmut Station proved the station was effectively abandoned where major maintenance was concerned - and implied that the T's previous management saw Dorchester as a 3rd world country of no importance.

Unfortunately the limited funds available for station rehabilitation did not extend far enough to include doing the maintenance work needed for all lines, but especially the Orange Line. The history and habit of poor fleet maintenance and management is a problem born many years ago and probably will continue for many more. Or at least until enough catastrophes prod the somnambulant legislature to wake up and smell the odor of a decaying transportation system.

Nevertheless the T's own management does not help argue for more money when they waste it. How is it wasted? Every U.S. flag that was mounted in various stations following 9-11 wasted thousands of dollars. The jingoistic jerk reaction may have demonstrated patriotic fervor but it contributed nothing to maintaining a system already running behind in maintenance. Nor does the metaphor of a static, frozen flag encased in glass and metal offer much of an inspiration. The recent controversy about hiring more deputy chiefs following a reduction in service - and therefore the need of policing - does not indicate a management that prioritizes well either.

Decreasing service - at a time that service is needed more - also demonstrates that the T's management has its collective head turned backward.

Even if all the money needed was available it's hard to believe that the current staffing and management of the T would know what to do with it.

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MBTA Grandstanding

You make an excellent example with the flags. A similar thing is done with ordering hybrid commuter rail engines or hybrid buses. It is all for publicity because the cost premium isn't paid back within the life of the vehicle.

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What hybrid locomotives?

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The MBTA isn't ordering any of those. They will be receiving new MPI HSP-46s hopefully starting at the end of this year.

More nonsense from you.

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The article seems to be full

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The article seems to be full of contradictions.

First it says the older trains are more likely to break down. But then it says the Orange Line trains are more reliable than ever (mean distance between failures has risen to 42,000 miles). Just because trains are old doesn't mean they have to be thrown away.

It says the T is doing more with less. But it also says they just hired five more repairers.

IMO this is *exactly* what the T should be spending money on -- more people who actually get things done. As opposed to an overabundance of managers and inspectors doing who knows what, expensive technology that doesn't help passengers (like the "train approaching" signs), and flashy but impractical station renovations (like the Kenmore glass clamshell, which provides less weather protection that what it replaced).

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