What to Expect From the Red Line This Week

The cause of the derailment is still unknown, but hey, countdown clocks are back!

Photo via Boston Fire Department/Twitter

Red Line riders: We’ve got good news, and we’ve got bad news.

On the bright side, the MBTA tweeted this morning that countdown clocks are back up and running at most Red Line stations (though “some stations may only have one side on,” apparently). “One-seat service” has now also returned, so Braintree branch riders no longer need to switch trains at JFK/UMass.

However, things are still pretty far from back to normal. A Fiscal and Management Control Board meeting Monday morning offered further clarity on the circumstances surrounding the now-infamous June 11 Red Line derailment. According to General Manager of the MBTA Steve Poftak’s telling of the incident, the third car of a six-car train traveled approximately 1,837 feet “not properly on the rails,” wreaking damage upon the track, 200 feet of third rail, and the “signal bungalows” that house critical power and signal systems.

Investigations into the cause of the derailment are still ongoing, Poftak says, but foul play, operator error, and track infrastructure have all been ruled out. The investigation is now focused on the vehicle itself, which, oh, by the way, was manufactured in 1969.

While all the track and rail repair work is now complete, wires, power cables, and signals are still damaged, and the repair process is a sluggish one. In the meantime, inspectors are manually operating track switches and sharing trains’ locations with operators. Because this is—obviously—a less-efficient strategy than the automatic update system, the MBTA has put fewer train cars in service.

What does this mean for riders? Plenty of time to take in the scenery if you’re in a good mood, and plenty of fodder for an angry tweetstorm if you’re not.

The MBTA still recommends that Red Line patrons take the commuter rail if possible—CharlieCards are acceptable fare on the South Station and Braintree branch, as well as the Middleborough/Lakeville, Kingston/Plymouth, Greenbush and Fairmount Lines.

At least certain city officials have started to point out that the scheduled July 1 fare hike might not be the best look.