A New Orange Line Train Just Tiptoed Back onto the Tracks
They're not taking the training wheels off just yet.
The MBTA is ever-so-gingerly reintroducing one of the two brand new Orange Line trains into service on Tuesday, the first time either has been seen in more than a month.
As you may recall, the new trains were pulled from the tracks after T staff noticed an “uncommon noise” emanating from the new cars, which is the last thing you want when you’ve got a total of 152 identical copies of it heading to the city by 2022.
In a statement, the T said it believes it’s been able to fix whatever was causing the concerning sound, and is thus ready to try out the new trains on the tracks again.
The refinements & lessons learned now help ensure that this train, and future trains on the Orange & Red Lines, will be able to perform as designed for the duration of their service lives. We appreciate our riders’ patience as we work to return the new vehicles back into service.
— MBTA (@MBTA) January 7, 2020
For now, the trains will be monitored by ride-along T engineers, and in an additional statement the T is clearly preparing us for the possibility that the new trains may be exiled yet again for repairs “as potential issues are detected that may require further analysis.”
MBTA statement on new OL train returning to service also does some expectation-setting: pic.twitter.com/ZDCM5hrc6A
— Adam Vaccaro (@adamtvaccaro) January 7, 2020
This extended hiatus came after the trains were removed from service in September following a malfunction that caused one of its doors to pop open while the train was in motion.
So, not a perfect rollout for the new equipment, which had been a welcome and tangible sign of improvement—the trains were more or less superstars in a city that is intensely focused on fixing its transportation system. Hopefully the stops and starts at the beginning will pay dividends later on, when we can finally welcome a fully brand new fleet of Orange Line trains to the system which will never break down or be late under any circumstances! (Too optimistic?)
Anyway, for now this means we’re back to what had become a favorite pastime for Orange Line riders: New Train Roulette, wherein travelers cross their fingers and hope to see one of the new models rolling into the station each time a train arrives.
If you want to cheat, you can always check the trusty “Where are Boston’s new trains today?” website. Best of luck out there.
— Adam Gaffin (@universalhub) January 7, 2020