There’s a reason commuters haven’t seen the brand-new Orange Line trains in operation this week: the vehicles have been temporarily taken out of service after there was an issue with a component on one car’s automatic door, a problem that prompted officials to replace the same piece of equipment on all the cars on both new trains.
According to Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, a single component, known as a “bump stop,” on one car door leaf did not work properly last week.
As a result, both six-car trains have been removed from service so that the component on all 144 doors of the 12 new train cars can be replaced.
“An investigation by the doors’ manufacturer and vehicle engineers determined that a component called a bump stop did not perform as expected,” he said in an e-mail Wednesday. “It is being replaced with a new, heavy duty design.”
Pesaturo said in the early stages of any procurement process for new rail cars, “vehicle engineers closely monitor a train’s performance and identify areas for improvement.”
“To improve the performance of the cars’ doors, personnel this week are replacing a component with a new one modified by the doors’ manufacturer,” he said.
The problem was first reported by StreetsBlogMass, a transportation advocacy website.
Riders who said that they had noticed problems with a train door — or doors — took to Twitter last week to report the issue.
“Looks like that fancy new train is having door problems at [State Street],” one person tweeted on Friday, Sept. 20. “Keeps opening and closing and we’re just sitting here. Cool.”
That same day, someone else tweeted that it was the first time they had been on a new Orange Line train, and they didn’t make it one stop before “ONE OF THE DOORS OPENED while we were in motion.”
According to a website that was set up to track the trains once they went into service, a new Orange Line vehicle has not been in service for at least four days. That timeframe coincides with the recent Twitter reports.
According to transit officials, the train’s operator reported the issue with the door to supervisors on Friday.
Pesaturo said that the new components will be more durable and are designed to “enhance the doors’ performance for many years to come.”
The trains are expected to be back in service, picking up customers, by Monday. The fix, he said, will come at no cost to the MBTA.
The MBTA plans to replace the entire existing Orange Line fleet of trains with 152 new cars in the coming years. Officials said that all future cars will have the same, newly-designed components on board.