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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

MBTA fast-tracks rail, tie replacement on Green Line

To expedite the work, crews pre-welded rail to the proper length and pre-staged materials.
Photo – MBTA


The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has replaced nearly 25,000 feet of track and about 1,000 ties and tie plates on the Green Line.

Using accelerated rail replacement techniques, the agency's track department installed 500 feet of track in three-hour periods during overnight hours. That type of work previously took entire weekends to complete, MBTA officials said in a press release.

To complete the work more quickly, MBTA pre-welded rail to the proper length, pre-staged materials, and pre-installed tie and plate work.

The upgrades have led to a 50 percent reduction in track defects, according to the agency. What's more, the upgrades have enabled the MBTA to lift speed restrictions on certain track segments — a move that's expected to improve travel times, MBTA officials said.

Those and other short-term improvements make way for upcoming core infrastructure work that will be accomplished in the months and years ahead as part of a comprehensive track renewal plan for the Green Line.

"Finding new ways to increase productivity in essential track work like this is the key to making real progress toward our state-of-good-repair backlog," said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramirez. "But even more important, this takes into account the needs of our customers by executing on this work with precise coordination and synchronicity."

Over the past two years, the MBTA has completed other repair projects on the Green Line, such as upgrading the rail gauge face angle on more than 90,000 feet of rail, deploying flange lubricators on all Type 8 rail cars, and improving several grade crossings.

Those improvements resulted in a major reduction of wheel wear, which has contributed to an increase in Green Line fleet availability, agency officials said. In addition, the flange lubricators have helped reduce the risk of derailments.

Last replaced in the 1970s and 1980s, the Green Line's rail, ties and other track components eventually will require full replacement. The total duration and cost of the overall renewal project depend on the MBTA obtaining necessary track access to complete the work.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/29/2017