New Orange Line, Red Line Trains Pulled From Service Again

Less than a month after the new cars on the Orange Line and Red Line of the MBTA were put back on the tracks following a braking issue, they have been pulled again because of a "battery failure," according to the embattled agency

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For the second time in just over a month, the MBTA has taken its new Orange Line and Red Line trains off the tracks.

This time, the cars were pulled due to a "battery failure," the MBTA said in a statement Tuesday.

The trains in question were last removed from service on May 19 over a braking issue. The MBTA then said the decision was made "out of an abundance of caution." The vehicles have been back in use for less than a month.

"An out-of-service car experienced a battery failure in the Wellington Yard early yesterday morning," the MBTA said Tuesday. "With safety being the top priority, the MBTA has decided to keep all of the new Orange Line and Red Line cars out of service while vehicle engineers and technicians work to determine the root cause of the failure and implement whatever corrective actions may be necessary."

The MBTA added that it would give an update after its engineering team "completes its work."

The agency said there would be no impact on service levels — which have recently been cut on both affected lines, as well as the Blue Line.

Problems with the trains date back to their introduction in August of 2019. In March of 2021, the NBC10 Boston Investigators learned that six derailments involving the new cars had occurred at the Wellington stop since they entered service.

"It's better that they are not in service, I guess, if there's any type of issue," said frequent MBTA rider Marysa Alexander.

Alexander takes the T all the time to get anywhere, she said.

"If you live here and you take the T, I feel it's like every day you have to check before you go, because you have to see, 'OK, is the train running today? Am I going to have to take a shuttle bus, or what's going on?'" she said.

Less than a month after they were put back in service, the new cars on the Orange Line and Red Line of the MBTA are back off the tracks.

"Honestly, I'm not really surprised at all," said commuter Victor Maung. "There's always been some problems with the MBTA station around here."

"I use it all the time. I mean, it's great," said Garrett Mullen. "I ride it every day. Hopefully they get those new cars back up and running."

Massachusetts House and Senate leaders are planning a hearing to learn more about how the MBTA operates after the Federal Transit Administration ordered safety upgrades in four areas:

  • Operating Control Center staffing;
  • General safety operating procedures;
  • Delayed critical maintenance; and
  • Lapses in staff safety certifications.

"The FTA's findings and the MBTA's subsequent service cuts don't inspire any public confidence in our transit system," Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ron Mariano said in a joint statement. "Since 2015, at his request, Governor Baker has had control of the MBTA. It has since been the Administration’s responsibility to keep up with maintenance and manage an efficient system that customers can rely on. Given the FTA's interim findings and alarming directives, there is an increased need to better understand the agency's shortcomings and help restore public confidence. Therefore, we will work with the Joint Committee on Transportation to conduct such a hearing in the coming weeks."

Lawmakers intend to hold an oversight hearing on the MBTA as issues continue to stack up.
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