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MBTA announces major track-repair program for 2024, day after parts of the Green Line were shut at Kenmore due to track problems

MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng this morning released a proposed schedule for track repairs across most of the T subway system in 2024 that will mean more of the multi-day shutdowns riders have grown accustomed to over the past couple of years, but which he says will ultimately mean faster, smoother rides.

The scheduled includes repair shutdowns across the Red, Orange and Blue Lines and most of the Green Line. Not included in the schedule is work to replace most of the tracks on the new Green Line Extension, where, someway, somehow, contractors installed tracks that do not meet the width specifications that North American railroads and subways have used since before the Civil War.

Also left out: The Mattapan Line, but that's because the T says the tracks there are now in good repair.

Eng says that as of this week, the T has 191 "slow zones" - 69 on the Green Line, 66 on the Red Line, 42 on the Orange Line and 14 on the Blue Line. Work slated for this fall is scheduled to fix 39 of them. Next year's work will eliminate the remaining 152 of those - and will include replacing nearly 24 miles of rail and 28,000 ties. Also in the works: Repacking ballast under some 39 miles of track, which will mean smoother rides. However, one of the T's problems this year has been that as they fix one slow zone, another one seems to pop up.

Included in a presentation by Eng is a tentative schedule for the 24 separate periods of service-halting work to accomplish all this. Some of the shutdowns will be for just a day, but the scheduled also calls for two weeks of work on the Green Line between Kenmore and Babcock on the B Line, St. Mary's on the C Line and Brookline Hills on the D Line between Feb. 20 and March 8, ten days on the Orange Line - which was shut for an entire month last year for repairs - between Forest Hills and Back Bay in late September and two weeks of work on the Red Line between JFK/UMass and Braintree, also in September,

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Comments

Saw the problem. Brought someone in to fix it.

Phil Speed Ahead as someone said earlier today. Good on both of you.

If any politically appointed lifer at 10 Park Plaza has a shed of decency and integrity, they would quit. Therefore no one is quitting.

Let's not forget though, hundreds of millions are still being spent to bring a few hundred people a day between Fall River and New Bedford to Boston while we could have the Blue Line / Red Line connector and Blue Line to Lynn instead.

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I'm willing to go through any and all service interruptions if it means a well running MBTA. If only I had more than the tiniest, flickering spark of hope left.

I will erect a statue in Eng's honor if he actually turns things around!

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Heck, if he pulls it off, they should name one of the stations after him.

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As someone who lives in one of the areas with the most speed restrictions (orange line in JP) I want my service interrupted sooner! It sucks that they won't be repairing that section for another year.

This well thought out plan really shows how bad Charlie Baker sucked.

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Ha Ha.

Just Use Your Bike! Isn't that the remedy all you Can't Afford Cambridge people prescribe to everyone else?

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I knew we were in trouble after the first shut down the first time I felt the train slow down inbound outside Jackson Square. Its just built into my days now, that the OL takes twice as long as it should.

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That's a very well done presentation, with some interesting side details about the system that you don't usually see organized in such an easy to digest format. One note about the number of slow downs that will be fixed. Unless I missed it, Adam, your synopsis implies that only 152 will be fixed, though it's accurately stating the number slated for repair in 2024. It left me wondering about the other 39 slow zones, but per the presentation, those are happening in November and December of this year.

Kudos to Phillip Eng -- if he can deliver on this one issue, he will rightly be seen as a miracle worker.

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I think it's not an exaggeration to say that if Eng can actually turn around the T, he'll be a legend among transit nerds for decades to come. I'm pulling for him.

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Good point, I'll fix, thanks.

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This is the kind of communication the T has always needed. Baker and his Pioneer Institute buddies did not believe in communication. So far it's not perfect, but it's a world of difference under Healy/Eng.

I actually believe there may be light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. I can almost see it.

( I had some experience with the Baker administration hostility to communication during the early days of the covid pandemic. At that time Baker and Marty Walsh were both holding online press conferences to update the public. Walsh would repeat the questions from the press so we could all hear the question and Walsh's answer. In the Baker conferences, the questions could not be heard and Baker's answer was often difficult to understand. I called Baker's office. A man answered the phone and refused to identify himself. When I asked if Baker could repeat the questions, and the way that Walsh handled it, the guy hung up on me.)

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Central artery project part 2
Just need a billion more and maybe it’ll be done by 2028

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Oooooohhhhh. Goody goody gumdrops. Magoo

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Call me a nerd, but the T was one of the things I really loved about living in Boston in the 80s, 90s and 00s. It was available, affordable, and did a decent job of reaching the places I wanted to go. It gave me a kind of freedom and flexibility that I just wouldn't have had if I'd needed to use a car. I'm hopeful that this can be turned around, because I think everyone deserves the T that I remember.

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I've been here long enough to remember the tail end of those days, and yeah it really is an amazing feeling, to feel like the entire city is within reach for $2.

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It was .85 cents when I moved here :D

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Me too. Sigh...

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And yes, I will reminisce of the times back in 2017 and 2018 when the T had a plan to deal with the infrastructure issues that were plaguing it.

And I remember the time back in 2022 when the Orange Line closed for a month so they could deal with the infrastructure issues that were plaguing it.

They are now giving themselves 14 months to take care of the infrastructure issues that are plaguing it.

I wish them well, but I've seen how this plays out over time.

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Was clearly a political stunt. They had no plans in place to bring in enough track workers to actually get anything done, so they slapped some paint on some stations and dug up a bit of track and said "here ya go."

More conspiracy-theory: they were already planning to close Oak Grove and Malden for a month, and then the garage fell down and they needed to close North Station to Back Bay for a month, and at that point, you can't really run the Orange Line, so they just decided to close it all with no plan.

As for 2017 and 2018: the T had a plan back then? Wasn't that when Baker gave the GM job to the husband of some GE exec who had no idea how to run a transit system?

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Omg completely forgot about the disaster that was ramirez

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Poftak was any better.

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Plagues are a great opportunity/building block.
Sure, some deplorables and nasty people cry "middle ages", but when you see the Renaissance a few decades later - it will all have been worth it.

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that the Red Line from Harvard to Charles seemed faster than what we were getting used to.

Does that mean there's been real progress?

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