MBTA: Faulty Axle Caused June Red Line Derailment

mbta red line derailment

The scene of the Red Line derailment in June. (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio)

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — MBTA Officials revealed Monday that a faulty axle is what caused the train derailment that left Red Line service in disarray for much of the summer.

At a joint meeting of the MBTA Fiscal Control Board and MassDOT, MBTA Deputy General Manager Jeff Gonneville said the axle snapped as the 27-year-old Red Line car entered the JFK/UMass station on June 11.

Nobody was injured in that derailment, but important signaling equipment was seriously damaged. As a result, commuters dealt with disruptions, delays, and shuttle buses replacing service.

MBTA Red Line Resumes Service After Derailment Repairs - Thumbnail Image

MBTA Red Line Resumes Service After Derailment Repairs

Gonneville said the axle was worn down over a period of about six months because two metal pieces that work together to divert electricity from the axle were not working correctly.

The problem wasn't caught earlier inspections. Now, the MBTA has introduced a more involved inspection process that should detect these types of issues in the future.

"Ultrasonic inspection is going to determine anything—if there is a nick or a burr even on the surface of the axle itself, we're gonna find that," Gonneville said. "We're going to be looking for that whole host of items that could potentially lead to an axle fracture."

All Red and Orange Line trains are currently being inspected for any and all kinds of problems. Green and Blue Line trains are also set to be inspected.

Moving forward, all trains will be checked every three months—or, roughly, every 8,500 miles.

WBZ NewsRadio's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports

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