T notes: Train derailed while using 46-year-old switch
Site for new Quincy bus garage obtained for $38.2m
MBTA OFFICIALS said the new Orange Line train that derailed on March 16 did so in a work zone near Wellington Station while moving slowly from one track to another using a 46-year-old switch.
Jeff Gonneville, deputy general manager of the MBTA, declined to say whether 46 years exceeded the useful life of the switch. He said it would all depend on how much use the switch received and how it was maintained over the years. “Newer is better,” he said at a meeting of the Fiscal and Management Control Board.
The T has not specified the cause of the crash, but Gonneville said a new switch has been installed, additional track is being replaced in the area, and the Orange Line train involved in the incident is being checked out top to bottom.
While the investigation goes on, the T is running shuttle buses between Oak Grove and Sullivan Square.
The MBTA on Monday agreed to pay $38.2 million for a 13-acre parcel of land on Burgin Parkway in Quincy that will be the site of a bus repair garage capable of servicing electric vehicles.
The new garage, located at a former Lowe’s site at 599 Burgin Parkway across from the Quincy Adams T station, takes the place of an old, decrepit garage in Quincy that is long past its useful life. It is also the first of what the T hopes are many new repair garages that are needed to transition away from diesel buses.
Several people complained during the public comment period for the Fiscal and Management Control Board that the T is moving too slowly to embrace electric buses. The current capital plan for the coming year calls for the purchase of 460 diesel-electric buses, which transportation advocates called “a retrograde step” and “a move in reverse” for an agency trying to help the state meet its climate change goals.
City, state officials press for electrification of 3 rail lines
A host of state lawmakers and mayors pressed the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday to follow through on a promise made 17 months ago to electrify the Providence-Stoughton and Fairmount commuter rail lines and a section of the Newburyport/Rockport Line connecting Boston to Lynn.Many of the officials also pressed for service as frequent – and at the same price – as subway service.
The mayors of Everett, Lynn, Revere, and Beverly and lawmakers representing many of those same communities left messages for the virtual meeting urging the T to launch a planning study on how to go about electrifying the tracks and procuring electric trains, often known as EMUs.