Commuters who’ve put up with a week of sluggish travel on the reopened Orange Line will need to be patient a little longer, MBTA officials said.
On Tuesday, eight days after the Orange Line emerged from a monthlong shutdown, most but not all speed restrictions on the tracks had been lifted. Trains will continue to move slowly between Assembly and North Station for several more days, officials said.
Temporary speed restrictions remain in place for “routine maintenance work” on that four-stop stretch of track “as personnel monitor the newly installed track and ties and make modifications to help ensure the long-term safety and reliability of the infrastructure,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said by e-mail.
That means commuters headed to or from points north of the city this week will need to continue budgeting extra time for their commutes.
“The MBTA expects to lift these temporary speed restrictions in the coming days,” Pesaturo said.
Governor Charlie Baker said Monday on GBH’s Boston Public Radio that all speed restrictions would likely be lifted by week’s end.
Commuters celebrated when the Orange Line trains flung open their doors to riders on Sept. 19 but found their trips downtown were taking just as long, if not longer, than when shuttles buses replaced subway service. Some wondered if they might reach their destination faster on foot.
MBTA officials had initially said commuters should expect reduced speeds on the trains for five to seven days after the reopening to give newly laid tracks, and the ballast beneath them, time to settle under the weight of packed subway cars.
Commuters have been noticing improvements since Friday, when sluggish trains in some sections seemed faster by the afternoon. Further improvements came Monday morning.
Last statement I have from the T says some speed restrictions -- though not all -- were lifted on Friday.— Jeremy Siegel (@jersiegel) September 26, 2022
T spokesperson told me they were expecting an update today, but we haven't gotten one yet.
Important to note speed restrictions are for safety reasons
But many riders remained frustrated by the slow pace, especially at rush hour, and not knowing when speeds might return to normal.
Ok @MBTA I wouldn’t have come to the office today if I knew the #orangeline was still running a slowdown. In 30 minutes I’ve gone from Wellington north station. We are standing by at every station too. Will this be the case all week?— Amanda Linehan (@AMLinehan) September 26, 2022
On Monday, researchers noted that the trips between Malden Center and North Station were still moving considerably slower than before the shutdown.
We fixed the T so well that the Orange Line now runs 10-15 minutes slower than it did before the shutdown! pic.twitter.com/1dsKDuFDrB— Ari Ofsevit (@ofsevit) September 26, 2022
As commuters boarded their morning trains Tuesday, many posed a simple question: When will it end?
Slow zone still very much in place between Assembly and Sullivan. We're going 1mph. 🤣 #mbta #orangeline #boston— ThatGhostTori 👻 (@ThatNerdTori) September 27, 2022
Spencer Buell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerBuell.