Bad transit

A new report on the MBTA finds that three-fifths of my commute is made of fearsome limb-rending deathtrack.

One example of an unfunded project that received the maximum safety score of “10” is the floating slabs and tunnel leak repair project between Alewife and Harvard stations on the Red Line.

This $80M project involves the complete removal and replacement of the existing system of floating concrete slabs beneath the Red Line tracks from Alewife to Harvard stations. “Floating” slabs rest atop a series of rubber disks that are designed to absorb the vibration of a train as it travels along the track.

Water leaking through the tunnel walls is creating several problems:

  • The leaking water is deteriorating the slabs themselves, causing sinking and misalignment of some slabs.
  • The water is corroding the fasteners that attach the track to the concrete.
  • In some areas, the fasteners are no longer holding the track in place, causing track to move out of alignment and presenting the possibility of train derailment.
  • In addition, the water is corroding the signal system along the track and compromising the cable and wire conduits.

The MBTA has been spiraling downward for the past several years, racking up astronomical debt and experiencing the massive fails in service and safety that go with it. I just hate to see a city that has the infrastructure already in place lose what might be its most vital mode of transportation for the majority of its citizens. I moved to Boston in large part because of its public transportation system, and it pains and frustrates me to watch as “signal delays” and “switching problems” and “disabled trains” become the rule rather than the exception.

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