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New Orange Line cars pulled out for repairs, again

Two six-car Orange Line trains were taken out of service Tuesday due to issues with their bolsters, a piece connecting the body of the train to the undercarriage that includes the train’s wheels.

The MBTA pulled new Orange Line trains out of service this week to fix problems with the cars’ undercarriages. PERRY SOSI/ DFP FILE

This is the third time the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has suspended service for new cars since their arrival last summer. They had been pulled out for about two months in November and for several days in September.

MBTA Deputy Press Secretary Lisa Battiston wrote in an email that the cause of the bolster issue is currently under investigation, and more information will be released later.

Battiston wrote the MBTA continues to monitor all new trains with high scrutiny, and that inspections are routine.

“When integrating new equipment into a system, it is typical that the equipment rotates in and out of service for adjustment,” Battison wrote. “If necessary, trains may be kept out of service for testing and in order to address any possible issues.”

Although the two newest trains have been removed to determine the exact cause of the bolster issue, Battiston wrote the existing trains on the Orange Line are still operating at full service.

The removal of these trains comes at the beginning of an MBTA project to integrate 404 new vehicles into service, Battiston wrote. The new vehicles are expected to have a lifespan of at least 30 years.

Tim Lawrence, communications director for TransitMatters, a Boston-based transit advocacy non-profit, said he is glad the MBTA is working on replacing the Orange Line cars, which have had large numbers of delays caused by mechanical failures.

“We’re definitely excited that we’re finally getting new trains on the Orange Line,” Lawrence said. “Once we get the fleet actually running for this year and next year and into 2022, we should start to see improvements in reliability, at least from trains not breaking down as much as they are now.”

Lawrence said manufacturing company China Railway Construction Corp., which assembled the new cars, has also made trains for the subway system in Singapore, where the cars have also had bolster issues.

Lawrence said he thinks it’s good the MBTA is addressing any potential issues on a timely basis so that they don’t end up developing into bigger problems.

“It’s good that the T is catching it now,” Lawrence said, “before we roll out the full fleet and before we roll out a fleet where we have a component that’s wearing down faster than it should.”

Fenway resident Angel Lacruz, 26, said he’s not surprised the cars have been experiencing issues despite being new.

“They’re always fixing problems,” Lacruz said. “We ever see anything different. Nothing’s faster, nothing’s better, I don’t think.”

Liza Sisk, 22, of Brighton said she takes the Orange Line regularly and was unaware cars had been taken out of service.

“They’re so clean and nice so I always get excited but now I’m a little bit nervous,” Sisk said. “I didn’t even know that they took them out of circulation.”

Mike Goldfarb, 29, of Watertown said in addition to its subway cars, the MBTA should look toward new measures to address issues with their bus lines as well.

“The 57, there tends to be too many stops so it slows everything down,” Goldfarb said. “So it makes it very aggravating if it even shows up.”

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