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Green Line anti-collision system won’t be done until 2025

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Difficulty with installing sophisticated technology into an old Green Line fleet has delayed the anticipated completion date for much-needed train-collision prevention equipment by 18 months.

MBTA Chief of Capital Transformation Angel Peña said manufacturer Stadler Rail opted to delay the end date for final installation of the Green Line Train Protection System from December 2023 to June 2025, following a project review it conducted after acquiring the T’s project supplier, BBR.

The decision came at the end of 2022, weeks before a National Transportation Safety Board deemed in its final report that a July 30, 2021 collision between two Green Line trains could have been prevented had a train-collision prevention system been in place. The crash injured 27 people and caused both trains to derail.

“Aside from (Green Line Train Protection System) being a complex system on its own, incorporating this technology into our legacy fleet adds another layer of complexity for the integration,” Peña said at a Thursday Board of Directors meeting.

“Just think for a moment of like trying to incorporate the self-driving feature of newer electrical cars with a Volvo built in the late-1980s. That’s what we’re facing right now.”

The majority of the MBTA’s Green Line fleet consists of 103 Type 7 and 87 Type 8 cars, which went into service between 1986 and 2007.

The Green Line Train Protection System will already be installed in the 102 new Type 10 “supercars,” which will replace those older trains when they start to arrive in the spring of 2027, at a required rate of two cars per month, Peña said.

All cars from the $811 million investment are scheduled to arrive by the spring of 2031, and will operate alongside the 24 Type 9 cars, Peña said.

GLTPS is similar to positive train control on the Commuter Rail, according to Peña. It combines vehicle and wayside equipment, he said, to incorporate speed enforcement, add red-light signal protection, and will trigger automatic brakes if the operator fails to react to potential hazards, preventing train-on-train collisions.

This equipment was recommended by the NTSB in 2009 following another Green Line collision that it said could have been prevented a year earlier, had a positive train control system been in place. In that instance, 68 people were injured.

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