Another Day, Another Red Line Nightmare On the MBTA

Riders just can't escape the horrors of delayed trains during their daily commute. Blame the weather.

Photo via @Jasper_Craven

Photo via @Jasper_Craven, Globe Correspondent

The MBTA is blaming the third rail on two separate tracks for the commuter calamity that kept customers crammed on the platforms, both Tuesday night, and Wednesday morning, as riders scrambled to get to where they were going.

MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo said a third rail defect was discovered shortly before 7 a.m. on the northbound tracks on the Ashmont side of the JFK/UMass Station, along the Red Line, which wasn’t fixed in time for the flow of travelers. The below-freezing temperatures are believed to be a contributing factor, he said.

Some customers were told to change trains at JFK/UMass to the Braintree side for service into the city. MBTA officials also told riders to either utilize bus routes, or even the Commuter Rail if possible. “A few buses were used, but the vast majority of Dorchester branch customers transferred at JFK to other Red Line trains or commuter rail trains,” Pesaturo said in an email.

The delays inevitably trickled down to other stops, filling up the platforms.

Although everyone is excited about the prospect of new late-night service coming to the tracks in 2014, which will help get people home after the bars close in Boston, some are questioning whether or not that money would be better used by just fixing the system in general first.

As the Globe outlined earlier this month, even workers at the transit agency are wary of the problems that could crop up if there is track trouble late at night, when swarms of bar-goers start to cluster at stations, relying on the T as their means of transportation home.  “There’s always something unexpected that comes up, because it’s an old system,” said a staff member who works for the track maintenance department, the report said.

While new trains are on the way in 2019, on both the Orange and Red Line, there is no immediate plans for fixing the tracks themselves.

For now, customers will have to grin and bare it, and try and get along as they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow passengers.