The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) announced the launch of its Track Improvement Program, an initiative to eliminate all existing speed restrictions and fix tracks closer to a state of good repair by the end of next year.
The program is part of the MBTA’s efforts to “Rebuild, Restore, and Reimagine” the public transit system.
Details on MBTA's New Program
The MBTA’s new program to fix the tracks will involve a wide range of work, including spot repairs, tie replacements, rail replacement, and ballast replacement.
The MBTA will also be expanding its engineering teams and engaging specialized rail contractors to execute the work efficiently.
The MBTA will schedule Track Improvement Program work during nights, weekends, and shutdown periods to minimize service, time, and cost impacts.
“By restoring our tracks, we are addressing the root causes of the speed restrictions that have accumulated over decades,” said MBTA GM/CEO Phillip Eng. “Our efforts to rebuild track infrastructure across the Red, Orange, Blue, and Green Lines will improve train speeds substantially, reduce delays and disruptions, enhance safety, and deliver timely, reliable, and consistent service for riders. Our team is deeply committed to seeing this through and we thank the public for their patience as we move the T forward. We will have a robust open house schedule to ensure the public has an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the various projects throughout the year.”
Importance of Speed Restrictions
Existing speed restrictions total 191 as of Nov. 6.
This year, the program aims to address 39 speed restrictions to further reduce travel times. Next year, by the end of 2024, the plan endeavors to revitalize over 27,900 railroad ties and 124,880 feet of track to improve safety and reliability.
Over 208,000 feet of tamping (a process used to pack the track ballast under railway tracks to make the tracks and roadbed more durable and level) will help smooth riding surfaces and allow for more comfortable, efficient train operations for the public.
The MBTA added that it is committed to eliminating speed restrictions more expeditiously, but noted that some speed restrictions are put in place for safety reasons.