Red Line Service Should Be Fully Restored by October, MBTA Officials Say

Looks like Red Line riders will be feeling the after-effects of this summer's derailment for months to come.

Photo via Boston Fire Department/Twitter

After that epic June 11 derailment, Red Line riders are getting pretty accustomed to train shortages, delays, and building in extra time on their commutes—which is good, because it looks like we’re still months away from the restoration of full service.

MBTA officials have announced that repairs to the Red Line will likely continue into October as work to restore the trains’ signals, switches, and bungalows continues. “While October is the current estimate, the T will do everything possible to finish restoration work sooner,” MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo says in an email to Boston.

Ten days after the derailment, the MBTA released a statement saying the organization “will continue working over the coming weeks to restore segments of the signal system with the goal of further improving service levels by Labor Day.” Some read this statement as an assertion that service would be fully restored by Labor Day, but officials have pointed out that this was not in fact what they were trying to communicate.

“The MBTA never said that all of the signal restoration work would be done by Labor Day,” Pesaturo clarifies. “It’s not a ‘new timeline’…based on the work completed to date and what remains, the MBTA Signal, Power and Communications Departments can narrow the timeframe to October for having all of the signals fully automated.”

As repair work continues chugging toward that October goal, the MBTA says riders will continue to see incremental improvements to service. At a press conference at South Station Monday morning, MBTA general manager Steve Poftak announced that the Red Line is back up to full capacity at rush hour, meaning they’re running the same number of trains that they ran during that period before the derailment. However, because the signals are still broken and cannot function automatically for significant portions of the route, service is still slower than it once was. The MBTA has set a goal of completing signal restoration between Broadway and JFK/UMass by August 15, which will reportedly result in a five-minute improvement on Red Line trips.

“We really appreciate their [Red Line riders’] patience,” Poftak says. “We know how frustrating this has been. It’s been frustrating for us.”