Orange Line re-opens after month-long shutdown

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Photo: Olivia LeDuc

Orange Line train entering Chinatown station

By Maeve Lawler and Olivia LeDuc

The Orange Line resumed its regular service on Monday after a 30-day closure. The first trains left the Oak Grove and Forest Hills Station at 5:16 a.m., according to an MBTA Twitter post

For the past month, the MBTA has worked to make major repairs—including new cars, track replacements, and an upgraded signal system—that will allow trains to operate safely at full speed. The month-long shutdown allowed for what would have been five years of weekend diversions to be condensed into a shorter period of time. 

Passengers returned to clean stations with shiny floors and all-new cars that moved over replaced tracks, but some riders complained about delays.

At the Orange Line station at Downtown Crossing, Angie, a University of Massachusetts Boston student, said her mom experienced a one-hour delay during her morning commute on the Orange Line. 

“I just think for the reopening this shouldn’t be happening,” Angie said. “If they need to test the trains, they should do it before.” 

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First-day delays are attributed to some slow zones that are still in place. These zones are expected to be lifted within the next week, according to an NBC Boston article

 “I think right now we’re getting back into the groove of running the trains, trying to make sure trains are adequately spaced. As the slow zones come off, as we get back into the flow here, we shouldn’t have those types of delays,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak told NBC Boston. 

Meredith Sullivan, a Somerville resident and commuter from Assembly Square to Downtown Crossing, said while she is “happy the train is back up and running,” the car felt like it was going slower.

Other riders like Malden resident Joseph felt satisfied with the re-opening. Joseph took the Orange line twice on Monday, commenting on its new, “really clean” look.

At the Orange Line station in Chinatown, Eara Rogers, a Swampscott resident who uses the train to commute to State Street for her job, said her early morning ride ran smoothly.

Tamara, an MBTA Inspector at the Downtown Crossing station spoke positively about reopening day.

“It’s like we never closed. It’s right back to normal,” Tamara said. “I’ve heard that people are happy to be back.”