Old cars, some from the Nixon presidency, were trucked to the junkyard

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This was the last trip Thursday morning of dozens of Orange Line train cars, some of which were decommissioned by the MBTA after more than 40 years of riding on the tracks from the Forest Hills district of the Jamaica Plain to Oak Grove in Malden.

Automobiles, some of which have been in service since the Nixon administration in the 1970s, are being replaced by “more modern, more efficient and wider vehicles” as part of MBTA’s $9.6 billion investment in overhauling the T service.

Most passengers on the Orange Line on Monday morning drove comfortably in the new cars; The agency put into service 60 wagons configured as 10 trains.

The mass rollout of the new cars coincided with the reopening of the service after the unprecedented 30-day shutdown of the line, which allowed the agency to operate around the clock to address safety issues and complete a laundry list of construction projects.

More: MBTA Green, Orange line up and running after 30 days outage, commuters satisfied

Vehicles had already seen the new cars in early spring; however, MBTA pulled them from service after several glitches were discovered, including a battery problem and incorrectly installed brake bolts on seven cars.

As part of the safety overhaul, MBTA announced that CRRC MA Corp., a Chinese company that built the vehicles in Springfield. restructured the protocol regarding the acceptance of vehicles while they were delivered to the agency by

Little problems happen

MBTA Managing Director Steve Poftak said the new procedure could detect and prevent problems before cars are deployed. But even with new protocols, problems can increase; According to the MBTA, one of the new cars suffered a door failure on Tuesday and the entire train was out of service. Passengers boarded the next train.

It was a minor issue isolated to one gate on an entire six-car train, and it was back in service Wednesday morning, according to the MBTA.

The retirees were trucked to Middleboro, where the Costello Dismantling Company would convert them to scrap.

The agency also ordered 100 new tram cars, Type 10 “Super Cars” for the Green Line from CAF USA Inc., and a $810 million contract was awarded to design and build the cars. New cars, currently in the design phase, can travel on the expanded Green Line through 2026.

“This is an incredible moment that marks a turning point for MBTA Green Line drivers as they continue to work to transform the entire line,” Poftak said in early September. “Type 10 “supercars” will not only provide more capacity (they are 40 feet longer than existing cars) and provide a wider ride for the country’s busiest light rail line, but they also incorporate the latest safety technology, accessibility improvements (wider doors) and other upgrades that improve the driver experience.”

Intermittent shutdowns along the Green Line

A portion of the Green Line from the Government Center to the Union Square ledge was also closed for the same 30-day period as the Orange Line, while construction continues to complete the extension through Medford. These five stations – three new stations in Somerville and two in Medford – are expected to be open to riders by the end of 2022.

Sections of the D-Branch of the Green Line will be closed intermittently throughout the fall from September 24, as MBTA handles the installation of the Green Line Train Protection System and line issues. There will be three nine-day closings until the end of October.

Other branches of the Green Line, including branches B, C and E, were closed during the summer, and the E-branch was closed for 16 days for line change and installation of the protection system.

Demolition work at the Government Center Garage in June caused MBTA to temporarily shut down service on both the Orange and Green lines to protect the safety of workers and drivers while the structure was demolished.

It’s been a tough summer for MBTA and its clients.

FTA review identifies agency issues

The Federal Transit Administration spent months examining the agency and its operations after finding it had a “higher overall rate of reportable safety incidents” compared to other public transit systems nationwide.

Incidents and accidents have included a train fire in July that forced as many as 200 passengers to evacuate to a bridge over the Mystic River on the Orange Line, contraband train carriages in different cars, and a door malfunction that caused a drifting death, among others.

The resulting FTA security report, released on August 31st, identified several issues contributing to the MBTA’s shortcomings. Among them, it was found that the State Department of Public Services (DPU) failed to adequately oversee the agency and also did not flex its regulatory power to ensure that the issues identified in the 2019 report were addressed. This 2019 report was an earlier look at the system by an independent Security Panel convened by the MBTA’s Financial Management and Control Board.

The agency viewed many incidents and crashes in the MBTA as one-off or bizarre events rather than systemic failures of the entire system.

The FTA also cited massive “hundreds of millions of dollars” cuts from operating and maintenance budgets from 2015 to 2019 in its August report. These cuts resulted in a lack of sufficient staff to run the agency effectively, resulting in over-reliance on overtime. , and overworked and inadequately trained personnel.

The FTA also highlighted the agency’s decision to prioritize capital projects over passenger operations, preventive maintenance and even safety.

According to the report, the agency has a shortfall of around 800 employees, from engineers to dispatchers, vehicle maintenance teams to drivers. Markings on MBTA vehicles indicate that the agent is hiring and invite riders to apply for positions ranging from hands-on jobs to office positions and everything in between.

Investment in the MBTA has increased recently, but state legislators voted the agency $600 million before the end of its July session.

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