MBTA Red Line Delays between Park and Harvard Square.

In the last two weeks Red Line MBTA has been dreadful during evening hours between 5 and 6 pm home bound from work.  Since October  10th 2016 the Red Line has made long haul stops breaks between Park and Harvard stating that there is a problem with signals at Alewife station. This is an on-going problem. Commuting distance from Park to Harvard takes around 12-15 Mts. In the last more than two weeks I leave at 5 pm from South Station and get to Harvard on the Red Line around 5.45 to 6.00 pm. This is due to unexplained signal issues at alewife according to MBTA. Fixing signals should not be an on going issue. We need to get home to our families and get going with kids activities.

MBTA Response (10/29) forwarded by Senator Brownsberger

We are focused on two issues that have been impacting the Red line over the last ten to fourteen days.

The first issue is a signal communication interruption at Alewife station. Our signal system communicates between our field equipment and our operation Control Center utilizing a Verizon line. There was a manhole that flooded last Friday after the heavy rain we received and a connector for the Verizon line was under water and damaged. This caused us to lose remote functionality of the switches at Alewife. When this occurs we have to manually throw the switches and route trains in and out of the terminus location at Alewife. This movement is done at a restricted speed and cannot be safely accomplished as efficiently as the system is designed to. Verizon has been making repairs to this equipment since last Saturday and each day the line has been getting more reliable. Today is the first day we have not been impacted with this communication issue. We are hopeful that Verizon has made all the necessary repairs to allow us to run the system reliably again. Not to get to far into the weeds but there is an ongoing project to build out our own fiber to all of the signal locations so we do not have to depend on outdated Verizon lines. This will improve our resiliency to these types of issues in the future.

The second impact is from an increase in vehicle issues, we have seen about eight more failures in service this month then we typically see on average. I have asked the vehicle maintenance staff to look for trends or similarities with the failures but there doesn’t seem to be any common trend. We are committed to improving everyday as we move forward and are confident that these last two weeks are an anomaly and service should improve.

13 replies on “MBTA Red Line Delays between Park and Harvard Square.”

  1. The Red Line problems are only part of the bigger picture. There are issues on every subway line and every bus line that I use.

    The bottom line is that the entire MBTA system has become unreliable. That includes subway, bus and commuter rail.

    The Governor, the Legislature, the Fiscal Control Board and T management must identify fixes that will make improvements that are noticeable to riders now. The Governor has been trying to fix the system on the cheap. This approach will not work. The public is losing faith in the MBTA.

    There is not much sense in focusing on long term initiatives, if ridership begins to dip in the short term. There must be equal focus on short term fixes and long term improvements.

  2. Are you kidding me? My husband works late every night and it’s 2-3 times a week I have to go in and get him. This is the worst excuse for public trans that I know of, including third world countries. We lost so much money over not being able to make it to work, I have to drive him in every day, just to see that he gets there. I have an ongoing report with the T which I just don’t have time to update every time they don’t show up, because I am so busy driving everybody around.

    When my teenage daughter took a position in Boston, I worried about her getting through. Sure enough, her first night, a Saturday night, she started frantically texting me, the T hasn’t come for hours and she’s been waiting alone on the platform. It’s not safe.

    Furthermore, there’s supposedly a rule that buses don’t leave until the corresponding train comes in. However, leaving the second it reaches the platform means that people ho ride the train cannot do anything but run from platform to platform and see nothing but the back of a bus that left without them. I go in and drive on account of that mostly, at least a couple of times a week.

    I spend all that gas and emissions because we have to get to work and survive. I spend all those tax dollars to make a T that doesn’t work for people.

    Now, personal grievances aside, I think this has gotten worse since you started looking into it, so I assume they are playing games on your area. I assume they are playing some form of political hardball in order to bilk the public out of more money, somehow. At least that would make sense. Because there’s no excuse for this level of error. Do they have an IQ and work ethic limit in order to gain employment? I am told they have bad management, and then they blame the equipment or snow or something…. I don’t know, but I am waiting to see what you figure out.

  3. I noticed huge delays heading inbound on the Red Line more than a month ago. I had decided to walk to Alewife and take the T in to Boston rather than drive. We had multiple, long, in-tunnel delays between Harvard and Park. I could have walked it faster. I plan to drive from now on, or at least until service is more reliable.

  4. “Rapid Transit” users tend to forget, you can get everywhere on buses using auto transfers on Charlie Cards.
    Might be a little slower, but stops are usually more convenient with no stairs, escalators or elevators t deal with.

  5. Unrelated (I assume), but the screeching sound of the tracks on the Red Line has been much worse the last couple of weeks. It’s the sound you often hear between Harvard and Central, but it happens most of the way from Alewife to Central. It’s quite painful, to the point where I started driving to work last week.

  6. Communications will be the least of our concerns in the future. Climate scientist James Hanson predicts 6 to 10 feet sea level rise before 2050 so there is a lot more flooding to be done. Maybe we should phase out underground rail and replace it with above ground “cable cars” like the ones proposed by Baystatesunway.

  7. We the public who ride the Red Line are buried in detail, the detail of explanation and excuse. The Governor/MASDOT/MBTA 5-year capital spending plan contains within it the trend toward elimination of the maintenance back log over twenty-five (25!) years.

    Replacement of 80% of the the old Redline cars, now scheduled for 2023, will restore the train capacity of the Red Line to 1988 when six-car trains first ran. However, the signaling and the power supply will remain old and under maintained, and demonstrably beyond useful life.

    We need a strategic plan from the Governor, not just better management, to assure a world class transit system with significantly more capacity in 10 years, 2026!

  8. I also was on the Red Line on Oct. 26 when it took over an hour to get from South Station to Harvard. But this was not reported in the news (at least not that I noticed) — because it was outclassed by the fire on the Orange Line at Back Bay station. This system really seems to be in trouble. Will, what oversight is there of MBTA management?

  9. I also want to report back to back MBTA breakdowns these two days.

    Yesterday was a switching problem at Alewife that we spent one hour to go from downtown crossing to Alewife. This morning another disabled train at Harvard squate.

    I really lost my confidence in the MBTA. The management team do not put riders and tax payers high on their priority list.

    Very very concerned.

  10. It’s terrible. I was there when two trains went out of service. This is the heart of the MBTA’s challenge — to get the core systems working. They are all about that now, but they have a long way to go.

    1. I consider this a structural problem within MBTA .

      No one can be held responsible for poorly maintained trains, tracks, bad designs and poorly managed budgets.

      Should not somebody be fired for the multiple accidents happened in MBTA daily?

      And can you help us to find out who come up with the design of a 35MM$ budget to convert waverly square ADA conversion(I.e. Adding a ramp or escalator to existing platform?

      We would appreciate your help.

      Thanks

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