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Rail News: Communication and Signal

MBTA inks $218 million contract for signal system upgrade

Coupled with a new fleet of vehicles, the upgraded signal system will enable the MBTA to boost service reliability and improve peak-hour headways between cars.
Photo – Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority


The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) Fiscal and Management Control Board this week awarded a $217.7 million contract to Barletta Heavy Division to upgrade and modernize the Red and Orange lines' signal systems.

Coupled with a new fleet of vehicles slated to enter service by 2023, the upgraded signal system will enable the MBTA to boost service reliability and improve peak-hour headways between cars, according to an agency press release.

Under the design-build contract, Barletta will upgrade the existing analog signals to next-generation digital audio frequency track circuits, which will have the capacity for additional speed commands to capitalize on the new vehicles' improved performance, MBTA officials said.

The project also calls for replacing the current central instrument houses with updated train-control technology on the Red Line's Columbia Junction, located between the North Quincy and Andrew stations. Barletta will upgrade a series of switches at Andrew Station to a modern, remote-controlled crossover.

Other Orange Line work includes replacement of all cabling and switch machines from Forest Hills to State Street, agency officials said.

The full signal system replacement along both lines is expected to reach "substantial completion" in mid 2022, according to the MBTA.

"Replacing our signal systems with cutting edge technology will allow us to maximize the performance of our new fleet vehicles, increase capacity, and position us to respond to issues that may impact service faster and with more accurate information than we have today," said MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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