Baker on Red Line Problems: ‘Everybody's Disappointed'

A Tuesday derailment on the MBTA Red Line caused damage to the rail's signal bungalows, tracks and cables

Tuesday's derailment of an MBTA Red Line train continues to cause headaches for commuters as crews work to repair damage caused by the incident in Dorchester.

Tracks and signals on parts of the Red Line were damaged just outside the JFK/UMass station when a train derailed Tuesday morning. Bungalows used by operators to communicate a train's arrival and departure were severely damaged in the incident and crews have been working to rebuild the vital structures.

In addition to building new bungalows, new cables must be installed and tracks need to be repaired.

The MBTA said delays are expected to last through Friday. By late Thursday afternoon, all damaged sections of the third rail had been replaced, with all track damage also repaired. Crews were continuing to work to repair wires and cables in the JFK/UMass area.

Passengers on the Braintree branch must change trains at JFK/UMass to continue along the Red Line, with the MBTA recommending to plan for an extra 20 minutes of commuting time.

Red Line trains will travel at reduced speeds until further notice. In the meantime, Red Line riders can show a CharlieTicket or CharlieCard to board Commuter Rail trains, which will take passengers to South Station.

Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday that he understands why people are upset, but not a lot can be done until planned upgrades to the Red Line are complete.

"I think everybody's disappointed, disturbed and upset about both the incident itself on the Red Line and also the difficulty people are going to have traveling on the Red Line as the process of fixing that particular section of track goes forward."

He said the MBTA is investing over $1 billion in signals, switches, trains and tracks on the Red Line, but that can't happen overnight.

"I know it can't come fast enough for most people, and I would include myself in that category. But the biggest limiting factor with how fast you can spend that money is you gotta keep running the service," Baker said. "We're not going to shut the service down for six months and just do it all at once because there are hundreds and thousands of people who rely on the system every day to get to where they need to go."

Tuesday's derailment caused severe delays of more than an hour, frustrating commuters who were forced to take shuttle buses after their ride was interrupted.

"We hear very clearly and we understand very clearly that the situation with these derailments is not acceptable and we are taking steps to address that," Poftak said Tuesday.

The MBTA set up a website where updates about the Red Line's condition are posted.

The cause of the derailment remains under investigation. It was the second such incident in three days on the MBTA following a derailment on the Green Line on Saturday.

There will be supplemental commuter rail service Thursday and Friday, the MBTA said. Both evenings, extra outbound trains are expected to depart South Station at 4:30, 6 and 7:20 p.m.; JFK/UMass at 4:36, 6:10 and 7:30 p.m.; Quincy Center at 4:50, 6:20 and 7:37 p.m.; and Braintree at 4:56, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. Friday morning, extra inbound trains will depart Braintree at 6:20, 8 and 9:30 a.m.; Quincy Center at 6:30, 8:10 and 9:37 a.m.; JFK/UMass at 6:50, 8:20 and 9:45 a.m.; and South Station at 7, 8:30 and 9:55 a.m.

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