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Orange Line goes off the rails

WHDH reports one of the new Orange Line trains derailed in the track work zone near Wellington around noon.

Looks like the cars are now broken in, although probably not the way the T intended. No injuries, at least. Shuttle buses now running.

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Didn't they spend millions of dollars on track repair over the past few years? Where does all this money go? Charlie, is your hair on fire over what to do with the poorly oiled MBTA machine? Eyes still closed? No comment? No plan of action??

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Voting closed 51

I'm fairly certain the circumstances that led to this derailment involved the ongoing track replacement project in that stretch of rail...

https://www.mbta.com/projects/orange-line-transformation-program/update/...

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Voting closed 102

Yes. They started single-tracking operations on the southbound track yesterday, to continue for 3 weeks worth of weekdays and all-weekend shutdowns while they wholesale-replace all track in/around the Wellington Yard entrances. Northbound/outbound trains temporarily cross over "wrong-rail" to the southbound track coming off the Mystic River bridge for the stop at Wellington Station, then cross back north of the Route 16 overpass. The new service reductions ensure that the wrong-rail move + Wellington stop can be self-contained within the headway between southbound trains to minimize delays.

The train split the switch in the act of crossing over, knocked over a switch heater electrical box, and snagged the door frame on that box for a superficial gash on the side of the car. Those are not switches used in regular service, and are not designed for continuous day-after-day punishment like, say, the crossovers at Forest Hills and Oak Grove that they flip with every train for reversing directions at the end of the line. So the track work comes with some elevated derailment risk, and they go extra slow as a result with heavy hand-holding by inpectors and dispatchers (i.e. too many eyes watching too cautiously for this to likely be a case of operator error). The train only left the crossover track by inches after splitting the switch and had no reported injuries because it was going extra-slow. It didn't help, either, that the service diversion started during yesterday's record-cold snap where the lightly-used switch would suddenly have to start flipping with each alternating-direction train movement with its switch heaters working overtime. They had a broken-rail problem yesterday morning down by Community College caused by the cold temps, so the weather plays an additional stressor on the physical plant in this spot.

Have to wait for official word, but chances are likeliest that this is going to be fingered as a switch-set failure and not a problem with the new CRRC cars. The very nature of the temp wrong-rail switching operation on switches not normally accustomed to that level of all-day punishment (like the end-of-line ones @ FH + OG are ruggedized for) means it comes with higher risk of exactly this type of derailment. If we weren't ramping up the recovery upswing from COVID and had fewer commuters to inconvenience, they probably would've just bustituted this whole section of Orange for the entire 3-week track project rather than trying to thread the needle. But that probably wasn't a realistic level of disruption to sustain on the weekday right now, so they played their chances.

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Voting closed 48

Sigh....

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I'm going off the rails on a crazy train.

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Worldclass

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