Some Red Line riders should brace for delays in evening commute

Commuters waited to board a Red Line train on the northbound platform at JFK/UMass Station in Boston Wednesday.
Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
Commuters waited to board a Red Line train on the northbound platform at JFK/UMass Station in Boston Wednesday.

Some Red Line riders should expect continued delays during the evening commute as the MBTA continues work on infrastructure a day after a train derailment caused major travel problems.

The T shut down a portion of the Red Line between the North Quincy and JFK/UMass stations in Dorchester earlier Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., so workers could repair damage to the subway system caused by the derailment.

According to an MBTA statement sent out shortly before 4:25 p.m., service has resumed for Ashmont-bound customers, who will not need to switch trains at JFK/UMass but should still plan for an additional 20 minutes of commuting time.


Braintree customers, on the other hand, will continue to change trains at JFK/UMass to continue on the Red Line, according to the latest T statement.

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Braintree-bound customers can continue to take the Middleborough/Lakeville, Kingston/Plymouth, or Greenbush commuter rail lines, according to the MBTA. The Greenbush Line stops at JFK/UMass and Quincy Center, but not Braintree.

“A lot of work will be taking place during the three-hour suspension of service today. With power to the third rail shut off, employees can safely work along the right-of-way,’’ T spokesman Joseph Pesaturo wrote in an e-mail Wednesday morning. “Dozens of workers from the T’s Power, Signal and Track Departments will be performing multiple tasks, including repairs to the third rail, switches, signals, track, power feeds and cables.”

Some 60 passengers were on board the southbound train when it derailed around 6:10 a.m. Tuesday near JFK/UMass Station, the fifth derailment on the T this year, the Globe reported. No one was seriously injured, and the cause remains under investigation by the T and Transit Police.

The damaged train car has been removed from the Dorchester station.


According to Pesaturo, the car that derailed was built in 1969.

In a series of early morning tweets, the T officials provided a more detailed explanation of the damage caused by Tuesday’s derailment and why the Red Line was running slowly Wednesday.

“During the derailment, the train struck multiple signal bungalows outside of JFK/UMass,” MBTA officials tweeted. “These are the sheds that house the hardware that controls our signal system. Without the signal system, trains must be given permission from our Operations Control Center to move from one station to the next, one train at a time. This also means we need people along the tracks to physically set the routes to direct trains.”

“This failure prevents clear communication to train tracking, GPS apps, and countdown clocks,” MBTA officials tweeted. “To avoid inaccurate predictions, we’ve turned off the countdown clocks across the Red Line. Looking ahead, bungalows will need to be rebuilt, new signals & cables installed, tracks repaired. At this time, we can’t say how long that will take. For now, trains will continue to travel at slower speeds. We ask customers to allow extra time & use all available services.”

Gladys Gonzalez moved to Massachusetts from New York City about six months ago and quickly became a fan of the Red Line and for what she came to view as a properly functioning mass transit system during the workweek.


Not anymore.

“This reminds me of New York,’’ she said Wednesday as she waited at JFK/UMass Station for the train.

Interviews with passengers at other subway stops found frustration with the T overall.

Hume Vance was on his way from Davis Square to South Station for work. He said Tuesday’s experience was “awful” and Wednesday’s was not much better.

“It’s just a tragedy and a travesty,” said Vance, who has been commuting for 25 years and said things have been getting worse and worse. “It just speaks to incredibly poor management.”

MBTA officials said crews will be working “around the clock” to fix the problems.

“We know this is a big ask,” MBTA officials tweeted. “We sincerely appreciate all our riders’ understanding and patience while crews work around the clock to fix this. We promise to keep updating you as more info becomes available.”

Travis Andersen of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Emily Sweeney can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.