The Orange line that we know today, was finished in 1987 and runs from Forest Hills to Oak Grove right through the heart of Downtown Boston. It also has the highest ridership out of the three heavy rail lines in the system. Today, as you might have heard, the MBTA has many problems it is dealing with, but in my opinion, a huge number of their problems lay with the ever-aging Orange Line. In this post I hope to share what I feel are the largest and most concerning problems on the Orange Line and what the MBTA is trying to do in order to fix some of these problems.
Today these cars are really showing their age. These once shiny and state-of-the-the-art trains are now rusted out clunkers in need of a serious overhaul or complete retirement. This past year has been a very trying time for the Orange Line fleet. Many of the trains tried to slug through the winter, but hardly made it out alive. There were a multiple of breakdowns caused by the cold and the snow and also just the overall age of the trains. In many instances snow clogged the air intake for the trains propulsion, causing them to stall out (which is a horrible design, if you ask me, because the Orange Lines undercarriage, where this intake is located, has very low clearance with the ground especially when there is snow on the tracks).
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying bash the Hawker-Siddeley's. These were wonderful and revolutionary cars when they first entered the MBTA system, but because of negligence to the fleet on the part of former MBTA heads, these trains are definitely not going to last much longer especially through our tough New England winters.
You're probably wondering if the T is taking any steps toward revamping the current fleet or introducing a brand new fleet. The truth is I did lots of research on the subject and came up with only one answer--being that the T was looking into replacing the entire fleet, but there was no projected time line for it. In my opinion, the replacement of these cars should be a very high priority for the T. Also, if they were to choose a train to base the new Orange line cars off of I would think they should use the new Blue Line cars manufactured by Siemens. These are the nicest, and cleanest cars I have ridden on. This is just my opinion though. Well anyways that's my little (or fairly large) rant about my take on the status of the Orange Line.
Heres a little video about the Orange Lines winter update!