BOSTON - The MBTA lifted some speed restrictions Friday after concerns about improperly documenting track defects on the rails prompted a slowdown on its train lines, adding additional commute time for riders.
Speed restrictions are no longer in place for the entirety of the Red, Orange, and Blue lines, but there are still certain spots on those lines where trains must slow down. Train speeds on the entire Green Line and Mattapan Line are still slowed to between 10-to-25 mph.
The T said the restrictions are the result of findings from a recent site visit of the Red Line between Ashmont and Savin Hill by the Department of Public Utilities. DPU asked for documents from earlier tests, but "MBTA leadership found the documentation to be inadequate."
"This decision that we made yesterday to slow the trains down globally was done out of an abundance of caution for their safety and that is something right now that we have to remain completely committed to," interim MBTA GM Jeff Gonneville said.
Gonneville said there were issues with documenting defects on the rails.
"We globally across the system slowed all trains down until we could verify and validate that all of the defects that were identified during this inspection have been addressed," he said. "These defects could be anything from the spacing between the rails is a little too tight, they could be that there is a slight twist in the rail itself."
Inspections of the track could take "a couple of days" and Gonneville would not say when speed restrictions would be dropped.
"We are asking riders to please be patient and allow us until the start of service on Monday to validate repairs and verify speeds," Gonneville said.
Riders who feel like they deal with headache after headache on the T are fed up.
"My commute to work, already stinks, and so, I feel like this is just adding more fuel to the fire," said Nick Stamboulis of Allston.
They're starting to lose hope things will ever be truly fixed.
"I think these safety issues they should have been fixed a long time ago," said Casey Dinneen of South Boston. "Where are our tax dollars going? This has been going on for years and years and years and it's very frustrating."
"Honestly, it's been this long. If they got new trains, you would think it would go faster, but at this point, I don't really have any hope for it," said Orun Ortiz of Beverly.
Gonneville said he understands that frustration, and the entire system is trying to turn a corner albeit slowly.
"We are an organization right now that is at a generational moment, and I feel very strongly about that," Gonneville said. "We are an organization right now that has to continue to focus on our infrastructure and updating our infrastructure."
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