Red Line recovery work is expected to continue "through the summer," with a focus on restoring the signal system that was damaged when a train derailed, the MBTA announced Friday.
The train derailed near the JFK/UMass Station early on June 11, damaging structures that contain signal equipment. The equipment there controls the track system where the Ashmont and Braintree branches diverge. While the signal system is down, MBTA employees have to physically direct Red Line trains, giving them permission to go from one station to the next.
The MBTA said in the statement that it initially expected signal repairs to take about a year, but it has accelerated the schedule, with the goal of improving service levels by Labor Day.
Trains are currently running every six minutes during rush hour, up from every 10 minutes in the days immediately following the derailment, according to the statement. The MBTA is asking that Red Line passengers continue to allow for extra travel time as repairs are made.
"While we recognize anything but full service falls short of our customers’ expectations, our current recovery schedule reflects the MBTA’s urgent approach to the massive task of returning the Red Line to full service," MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in the statement. "As recovery efforts continue, I want to thank the MBTA workforce for their urgency and professionalism, and I want our customers to know that we deeply appreciate their patience."
The derailment's cause remains under investigation, the MBTA says. However, it has ruled out operator error, foul play and track infrastructure as possible causes. The agency says it has also inspected all vehicles of the same type involved in the derailment "out of an abundance of caution."
After the derailment, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh asked the MBTA to delay planned fare hikes until the Red Line was running normally again. Its officials declined.
Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu on Thursday called for riders to rally the MBTA "for solutions to fix the T" in what she's coining a "#BostonTParty."
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