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Commuter Rail to Support Passengers Ahead of Orange Line Surge

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August 19 begins a 30-day full closure of the Orange Line by the MBTA to address a maintenance backlog and planned construction investments to return the system to a state of good repair.

The MBTA is encouraging Orange Line riders to plan ahead and consider Commuter Rail service as an alternative to the Orange Line during this time. We are ready with plans in place to prepare for the potential surge of passengers on the Commuter Rail.KEOLIS_WHEEL_PASSENGERS_RVB

“It’s a great opportunity for us to demonstrate how good our service is, how great our onboard staff is, and how easy it is to get into Boston on the Commuter Rail,” said Mike Rooks, Chief of Network Operations and Planning. “Our service offers higher speed with less frequent stops.”

Commuter Rail trains will make additional stops at Forest Hills, Ruggles, Back Bay, North Station, Malden Center, and Oak Grove stations to accommodate Orange Line passengers impacted by the surge. Customer Service personnel will support passengers at Oak Grove and Forest Hills to help direct them to the Commuter Rail service. We will also add additional trains to the Providence Line during this time and will monitor ridership impacts and adjust accordingly for passengers.

“We always think of our passengers first,” Mike said. “We are providing a service to the community, and we have an obligation to.”

To ride the Commuter Rail in Zones 1A, 1, and 2 on all Commuter Rail lines at no charge, riders can simply show their CharlieCard or CharlieTicket to conductors. The Hyde Park – Forest Hills – Ruggles – Back Bay – South Station and Oak Grove – Malden Center – North Station Commuter Rail schedules are both available on mbta.com.

KEOLIS_WHEEL_PTA_RVBDepartments are working together cross-functionally for a smooth transition during the Orange Line surge. The Engineering team prepared the Oak Grove Commuter Rail platform for service in just a few days, after receiving notification of the Orange Line surge. The project included expediting materials, repairing the platform, installing tactile around the platform edge for ADA compliance, running temporary lighting, and cleaning the platform. Additionally, the team cleaned and landscaped the parking lot, addressing and clearing any safety hazards.

“We want to be as accommodating to passengers as possible,” said Rich Marshall, Senior Engineer in B&B. “The team showed diligence and commitment to get this project done. It was a collaborative effort between Engineering and Managers of many areas to coordinate materials and manpower.”

The Operations Planning and Customer Service teams are working closely with the MBTA to deliver clear passenger communications and enhance the level of service to mitigate the impact of the surge.

“Our Operations Control Center will work very closely with the MBTA, and Yankee bus service throughout the closure,” Mike said.

Orange Line Project Background

The Orange Line will be closed from Oak Grove to Forest Hills stations, from August 19 until September 18. This will allow thirty days of 24-hour access for the Orange Line Project to replace more than five years of Orange Line delays and weekend diversions. 

During the Orange Line surge, the T will offer free shuttle buses between Oak Grove and Haymarket/Government Center and between Forest Hills and Back Bay/Copley, for additional resources for riders.

Passengers can view the Rider’s Guide to Planning Ahead for alternative travel options and information to inform travel decisions, including how the MBTA is ensuring accessibility during the surge.

For more information, visit mbta.com.