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The Needham Line commuter rail service will be suspended Saturdays from Aug. 3 to Oct. 12 as the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority installs new safety infrastructure, the agency announced Thursday.

Positive train control, or PTC, infrastructure installations are a part of the MBTA’s $8 billion, five-year capital investment program, MBTA officials said. PTC is a federally mandated safety control system that automatically reduces train speeds when needed to prevent train collisions. It is being installed on all commuter rail tracks, MBTA officials said.

The Needham Line runs from South Station to Needham Heights and normally operates Monday through Saturday, according to the MBTA’s website. During the 11 Saturdays when the line will be closed, the MBTA is encouraging riders to use connecting bus and subway services.

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“Positive Train Control is a key investment that will result in a significant safety upgrade for our customers across the entire commuter rail network,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a statement. “While we continue our efforts to improve service by investing in vehicles, power systems, signals, and track, we are also integrating this new, state-of-the-art technology that brings commuter rail safety into the 21st century.”


Maria Lovato can be reached at maria.lovato@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @maria_lovato99.