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MBTA investigating ‘seat failure’ on one of the new Orange Line trains

The train was brought to the Wellington yard before eventually going back into service.

The MBTA was looking into what happened to a seat on one of the new Orange Line trains.Frank Impelluso

Officials from the MBTA said Friday that a brand new Orange Line train was taken to a rail yard to be inspected after a passenger reported that a seat on one of the train cars was apparently broken.

The issue was the latest in a series of hiccups for the transit agency’s newest set of vehicles, which debuted last summer to much fanfare.

According to Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the T, workers on Friday were tasked with looking into what may have caused the “seat failure.”

The single train car with what appeared to be an unhinged seat was temporarily closed off to passengers, but the other cars remained open and the train stayed in service until noon, he said. The train "typically comes out [of service] during the mid-day period and returns for the p.m. commute.”


As of late Friday afternoon, the “root cause” of the seat failure had not been determined, Pesaturo said, but vandalism had been ruled out. By 3 p.m., the train and train car were back in service.

“The seat is in place, and ready for use,” he said.

The broken seat was first reported by rider Frank Impelluso around 9:20 a.m. on Friday, after he took a picture of the damaged part and shared it on Twitter.

“Y’all the new Orange Line @MBTA train that’s been in commission all of two weeks (?) already has a broken seat,” Impelluso wrote.

The T responded to Impelluso’s complaint to get more information about which train the broken chair was on.

In a message to the Globe, Impelluso said he didn’t believe the angled seat was “an act of vandalism," as MBTA officials seemed to suggest.

“I saw a man sit down on the fold out seat with his friend next to him. Upon departing, he noticed the seat did not retract and walked away while his friends’s seat did [retract]. His seat did not give way, but it didn’t look safe to sit upon," Impelluso said. “When arriving at future stops, other passengers merely walked past the seat rather than try to fix it.”


The MBTA’s two six-car train sets only recently returned to the tracks, after being pulled in mid-November for what the transit agency called an “uncommon noise.” Officials later determined that a pad between the upper and lower parts of the subway cars was “wearing irregularly."

The two trains also were taken out of service in the fall because of a problem with their automatic doors.

Railroad experts have told the Globe in previous interviews that it’s not entirely uncommon for new train vehicles to face certain problems when met by their first passenger loads.

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.