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Davey, Rich MassDOT Rail @ Transit

Posted by Richard Davey, MassDOT Rail & Transit Administrator and MBTA General Manager

Dear MBTA customers,

The source of last night’s electrical fire is still under investigation. As a result of the fire, service on a portion of three subway lines (Green, Red, Orange) was shut down from 10pm to end of service last night.  Signal wiring in a portion of the Red Line tunnel by Park St. Station was damaged which is what is causing delays in today’s service of approximately 15 minutes on the Red Line.

T operations and maintenance staff and Boston Fire personnel responded to the fire and evacuated passengers quickly, professional and efficiently.  A team of T employees worked overnight to restore regular service (with delays) on the Red Line in time for the morning commute.  Secretary Mullan and I were on scene throughout the morning.

You should know that 10-15 minute delays will continue on the Red Line for the the next week until the wiring is upgraded and replaced during the weekend of May 8th and 9th.

After the fires in September 2009 the T moved quickly to review, evaluate and address the wiring issues in the tunnels with the following actions:

1.  A comprehensive review was undertaken and any immediate risks have already been addressed.  Earlier this month, MBTA subway personnel initiated a “re-sectioning” project, which shortens power feeds in the Red Line.  This will ensure that future disruptions will require busing for shorter distances, (i.e., that a lengthy shutdown such as last night’s which spanned six stations would be substantially shorter).

2.  The MBTA’s 5-year Capital Improvement Program (approved this month by the MassDOT Board of Directors) includes $200M in power improvements including cables, substations and electrical systems. 

3.  Next fiscal year alone, the T will spend $37 million upgrading outdated cables and breakers along the Orange and Red Lines, including the section where last night’s fire occurred.  This addresses a key point in the David D’Alessandro report issued in November.

Thank you for your patience as we work hard to address the impacts of last night’s fire.

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