Downtown Green and Orange line service is back, T says

The MBTA suspended Green and Orange line service Thursday due to a structural issue at Government Center Garage. (Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
The MBTA suspended Green and Orange line service Thursday due to a structural issue at Government Center Garage. (Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

Engineers and safety experts have determined it's safe for Orange and Green line trains to travel through the tunnels underneath the Government Center Garage.

In a press release Sunday evening, the MBTA said trains are back running after a service shutdown Thursday night because of "severely deteriorated" support columns connected to the garage, which sits atop tunnels that carry the Green and Orange lines.

The discovery led to shuttle buses replacing Green Line trains between Lechmere and Government Center. Orange Line service shut down between Back Bay and North Station.

Repairs to the garage have passed inspection, the T said Sunday.

T General Manager Steve Poftak blamed the disruption on the construction company overseeing garage demolition, calling the situation "unacceptable." The company said the infrastructure was compromised by water damage, not demolition work.

Government Center Garage is coming down to make way for a private development — and last week wasn't the first time the project affected T service. A partial collapse at the site in March killed a construction worker and suspended Green and Orange line service until engineers could give subway tunnels the all-clear.

On Sunday, Northeastern student Ellisar Hamdan paused as she transferred to the shuttle buses at Government Center. She said she tries not to think about the structural stability of the garage as she commutes to work in Somerville on the Green Line.

"Honestly, I feel like if I would think about it, I'd probably freak out," she said.

Avery Garrison of Jamaica Plain stood nearby. He said he was considering walking the mile and a half to Copley rather than make another change between the shuttle bus and the train.

"It's kind of a nice day, so I actually will challenge myself and take that walk," he said.

This latest service disruption piled onto weekday service cuts already in effect on the Orange, Red and Blue lines, as the MBTA tackles a shortage of subway dispatchers. The issue was one of several flagged by Federal Transit Administration safety inspectors earlier this month.

Meanwhile, riders are navigating a service shutdown on the Green Line's B branch that is slated to wrap up July 1.

Talking through the myriad service issues and how they affect her commute to her job at Boston College, East Boston resident Jina Lee said she felt there was only one logical explanation for the current state of the MBTA.

"It's cursed," she said. "That's the right word perhaps — it's cursed."

In a statement about the downtown service changes last week the T said the safety of riders and employees is its top priority.

This article was originally published on June 26, 2022.


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Jack Mitchell was an associate producer in WBUR's newsroom. He works across a wide spectrum of departments and shows — from the newscast unit, to, to Radio Boston.


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Walter Wuthmann is a general assignment reporter for WBUR.





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