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MBTA slowdown ordered after state IDed track defects and T couldn't guarantee repairs had actually been done; some speed restrictions lifted

Old Boston trolley

Rapid transit back in the day. See it larger.

The MBTA began slowing down all its subway trains around 5:30 p.m. yesterday after state inspectors filed reports that they found track problems on one Red Line stretch this week and the T couldn't assure them that repairs had actually been made because of problems with paperwork and decided it needed to check all its tracks.

The T did not alert passengers to the slowdown until around 10 p.m. Interim T General Manager Jeff Gonneville said at a press conference this morning - which, like the T itself, was delayed - that when he got copies of the DPU reports, he had to make an instant decision to slow every train down first, then notify riders. "There are times we have to make decisions internally to insure [rider] safety first," he said.

"This decision was done out of an abundance of caution for [rider] safety and that is something right now we have to remain committed to," he said, adding the T's own inspectors have been inspecting tracks for problems, which he said could range from issued with "the spacing between rails" to "a slight twist in rail," to problems that would be too technical for non-subway professionals to understand.

WFXT reports that in addition to track problems, Department of Public Utilities inspectors also found trains overshooting platforms, defective third-rail insulators, train drivers not turning on train headlights when they should have, unsecured signal boxes and access panels and a worker not wearing a hard hat, on an outbound stretch of the Red Line's Ashmont branch.

Gonneville said the extra speed restrictions have already been removed on the Red, Blue and Orange Lines after inspections by T track specialists in a "geometry" car, although that does nothing about the slow zones they've already become accustomed to, let alone the shutdown of the Blue Line between Maverick and Airport due to a downed power line. The restrictions remain in place "globally" on the Green Line and the Mattapan Line, he said - although the Mattapan Line isn't running at all this morning because a construction crane removing stairs at the Milton stop fell over.

He declined to get specific on the bad paperwork or just what might happen if they problems were not corrected - or trains were not slowed as they go over problem tracks - beyond saying they meant "the potential to be some form of an incident with our trains."

Meanwhile, top legislative leaders showed their priorities by attending a photo op at the same time, in front of a Duck Boat outside Copley Square, by a sports-betting company on the transformative nature of their voting to allow sports betting in Massachusetts.

Image of Boston trolley back around 1890 from the BPL. Posted under this Creative Commons license.



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Who were the top officials?

Gave shoutouts to Rob Mariano, speaker, and Aaron Michlewitz, chairman of Ways and Means, and both of whom represent districts served by the T. He might have mentioned others, but, to be honest, I wasn't paying that close attention.

Full speed ahead said the Captain of the (T)itanic.

The rumor (from an anon at Reddit) is that this is due to the MBTA workers responsible for checking the tracks last year were phoning it in and falsifying documents that claimed the tracks were checked and good rather than running the sensors/collecting real data at times.

If this is true, we need some heads to roll. We can't operate a public transit system based on faking numbers and ignoring safety work.


IANAL but seems to me that the point where you're faking safety reports is the point at which you've crossed from ordinary laziness into criminal negligence. I bet there are a lot of T employees who are not sleeping real well lately.


The MBTA just needs more money and everything will be on time and in good standing.


I can't believe it.

There used to be lots of track work inspections done through bottles of Schlitz at the bar that used to be where the lobby of 9 Broadway is now.

It was very easy to inspect all the tracks from when you checked in at Cabot and walked over to Dot and Broadway and then walked back 7 hours later.

The culture of maintenance at the T is a legacy of Billy Bulger's Keep Every South Boston Guy Employed policy of the 80's and 90's coupled with Bill Weld sitting on his lap and agreeing with him.

Perhaps our new governor should show up at 10 Park Plaza at about 2 today and see who it there and who is not.


Maybe you can yell some motivational words from the sidewalk.

Or better yet, get your name on the ballot and raise some campaign funds so Mr. Costello can go-to Beacon Hill and fix the T!

Something something clam up or whatever amirite?


Bikes would be banned from bus lanes.

Why let your hobby interfere with a mass amount of people trying to use public transit.


I ultimately agree that we shouldn’t have bikes in bud lanes but because we should have fully protected bike lanes. Bikes are not a hobby they are a viable and efficient way to move large numbers of people in urban areas (just ask the Dutch). In fact, bikes have similar capacity and space benefits as buses and both are significantly better than cars in this regard. Bikes also boost the accessibility of transit stations because you can comfortably bike a longer distance than walking.

But really all of that is besides the point because bikes in bus lanes don’t really block buses, parked cars do.


Put your money where your mouth is and get that campaign rolling!

Though you might find some of your constituents aren't too thrilled with that proposal, make sure you poll the electorate well enough to get those talking points in order.


They want that dead horse you keep beating.

You've got years doing that clam up bit haha

But I look forward to seeing you heed your own advice in the future!


Who goes in those lanes is up to municipalities. Not the MBTA (aside from the ones in the stations).

You knew that ... right? You would if you spent some time in them.


You'd know that the MBTA has no authority over roadway lanes*, be they all-purpose or bus/bike.

* Of course they have authority over lanes on MBTA property, like some Silver Line. I'm talking about municipal roadways.

Will we ever have real management, real accountability , and real transparency at the MBTA?
I won't hold my breath.
Btw, it's not "because of the unions", which we constantly read on Uhub and elsewhere. A well run organization can have both effective management and union protections for workers. But the T is the opposite of a well run organization.

Those were the days.

- Management says we have to have this done by DATE.
- Workers realize this is impossible.
- Management won't relent.
- Workers say WTF and falsify data.
- Management now has data to show everyone that Things Were Done.
- Nothing is fixed.

A familiar story. To everyone involved. Until something explodes.

Where did this story come from?

Do you have any evidence that: 1) anything was falsified, and 2) it happened because management made an impossible demand?

If only we hosted the Olympics in 2024, all these issues would have been fixed.



wait even later than that Amazon coming to East Boston was going to solve all our problems, thank God that fell through


for the record I would personally dig the Blue->Red connector by hand given a chance


I'm still trying to figure out the claim I read somewhere earlier today that "thousands of people would be taking the Red Line" to the Saint Patrick's Day Parade.

Car owners and real estate interests win. Mass transit withers.


As I always say. anything is possible if there's political will to do it.

But there isn't political will for transit. Cars will always win, because most people drive cars so everyone is effected.

It sucks and I dont agree. just stating the facts here.


Add to that, once people get fed up with the T and get a car, it's very hard to get them to come back or lobby for transit issues. Once someone is spending $$$ for a car, their instinct is to demand policies that support that investment.

The T's problem is that it has too few users. If 80% of Boston residents primarily depended on the T, the outcry over the shutdowns & slowdowns would be deafening instead of a background hum.


One reason many opposed that at the time was the obvious: they would piss around, cut the budget, then take all the buses in the region for ticket-holders, athletes, support, and other Olympic-adjacent riders only.

Last Saturday, at the Braintree Public Library, the author of (which is about the MBTA) said "buy my book and you'll be able to finish it before you get to your destination." With these added slowdowns, you'll probably be able to finish the entire series!

Thank you, Adam. This is by far the best reporting I’ve read on the issue (no offense to Taylor Dolven at the Globe). Perhaps I appreciate the UHub house style of snarkily noting details like the Duck Boat gambling photo-op!


For the best imagery to accompany these stories.


Does this make Boston a 45-minute city?


I'd say it's more like the old Maine saying, "You can't get there from here".


No one cares about infrastructure, until it affects them personally.

Meanwhile, a bright shiny story like the advent of online sports wagering gets all the eyes.

(Though to be fair, channel 4 lead the news at 11 with the T slowdown.)


Meanwhile, top legislative leaders showed their priorities by attending a photo op at the same time, in front of a Duck Boat outside Copley Square, by a sports-betting company on the transformative nature of their voting to allow sports betting in Massachusetts.

I'm betting that all that 4% income tax surcharge (on incomes over $1 million) that was heavily promoted to improve public transportation and roads will be (or already is) funneled right to the General Fund instead. Not one effing penny will go to transit/road improvements.