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More fixes keep new Orange Line trains off tracks

An MBTA employee checks on a new Orange Line train before the ribbon cutting. The trains were soon pulled from service and have remained off the tracks due to problems with two door components. Lane Turner/Globe Staff/File 2019/Globe Staff

If you’ve been standing around at Ruggles all week waiting for one of the shiny new Orange Line trains to arrive, well, you’re going to be waiting a little while longer.

Officials from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority confirmed Wednesday that the two sets of six train cars, which were taken out of service last month to replace a door component, now aren’t expected to hit the tracks again until sometime next week.

The T initially pulled the trains from service after a part called a “bump stop” malfunctioned on a single train car Sept. 20, causing half of one door, known as a leaf, to open while the train was in motion. The train stopped automatically when the problem occurred, officials said, and the operator reported the issue to supervisors.


The problem prompted officials to replace the same piece of equipment on all 144 doors of the 12 new cars. The newer heavy-duty design came at the expense of the manufacturer. The T had anticipated getting the trains back up again by Monday, Sept. 30, they said last week.

But Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the T, said in an e-mail Wednesday that while investigating the “root cause of the problem” with the bump stop, vehicle engineers decided a secondary component should also be replaced — also at the manufacturer’s expense.

“These electro-mechanical devices have been redesigned to enhance the performance of the locking mechanism on each door leaf,” Pesaturo said. “The redesigned door locking systems are currently being installed and subjected to extensive testing.”

People have been tweeting about the delay this week, after the train didn’t arrive back to stations by Monday.

“And, so, friends, with neither of the new OL trainsets having graced the tracks during formal business hours today, we flip the counter and call it Day 2 of the #OLNewTrainsetReturnWatch,” one rider tweeted Tuesday, the second day in. “When will these trainsets return? Will @mbta ever respond as to what’s up now?”


A website designed to track the T’s newest vehicles last recorded a new Orange Line train on the tracks 11 days ago.

“No new trains on this line right now,” it read Wednesday evening.

The upside to the train delays? “By making such modifications in the very beginnings of a rail car procurement process, the enhanced parts become standard equipment for the hundreds of cars to follow,” Pesaturo said.

The MBTA plans to replace the entire existing Orange Line fleet of trains with 152 new cars in the coming years.

Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.