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Green Line D Branch Track and Signal Work Shifted East into Newton and Brookline

Posted on July 12, 2019

Evening shuttle buses will continue through December 2019


Line graphic of the Green Line D branch, showing shuttles between Kenmore and Newton Highlands, and no shuttle service at Beaconsfield

As part of the MBTA’s $8 billion, 5-year capital improvement program, Green Line D branch track and signal work is taking place with evening shuttle buses replacing D branch trolley service between Newton Highlands and Kenmore Stations in both directions after approximately 8:30 PM on Mondays through Fridays beginning last Monday, July 8, through December 20, 2019.

“Executing on this necessary work is key to our larger strategy of rebuilding the core track and signal infrastructure along the Green Line,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “While we acknowledge shuttle buses can cause an inconvenience to our customers, expanding the window of construction allows us to make more progress while reducing the overall construction schedule.”

Through collaboration with the Town of Brookline, work for Brookline’s High School Expansion Project adjacent to and over the D Branch at Brookline Hills Station is also taking place. Additionally, the MBTA is implementing flood control work as part of the Fenway Portal Project

The MBTA advises customers that they should anticipate an additional 15 minutes of commuting time during the evening shuttle bus service replacement. Shuttle schedules are subject to change and dependent on the weather, city-wide events, and construction progress. When the Red Sox play evening weeknight games at Fenway Park, D branch trolleys will operate until 10:30 PM to accommodate increased ridership. 

This work is the continuation of the Green Line D-branch’s Track and Signal Replacement project, which will replace approximately 6.5 miles of signal infrastructure, 25,000 feet of track, and includes special track work between Beaconsfield and Riverside Stations. The project will also centralize signal equipment at D branch stations, replace antiquated signal equipment with modern technology, and replace jointed rail with continuous welded rail. Modern signal systems are less likely to experience issues or disruptions, resulting in fewer delays and increased Green Line reliability. The upgraded infrastructure will also result in the removal of speed restrictions along the D branch. 

Construction has been ongoing in Newton since spring 2019. On July 8, work shifted east along the D Branch between Newton Highlands and Brookline Hills. Contractors are working in up to three locations each night from 8:30 PM to approximately 5 AM. The first crew is replacing track, railroad ties, and ballast; the second crew is building new signal equipment and replacing cables; and the third crew is repairing catenary poles. This work is scheduled to continue through December 2019.

Noise issues may occur after 9 PM as workers cut rail with a saw or torch, then later when the track is "tamped" to the proper elevation. Efforts to minimize noise levels include using silencers or mufflers on equipment, limiting truck and equipment idling, using sound-deadening materials on trucks and equipment, and using noise blankets and shielding where possible. The MBTA is monitoring noise levels and encourages area residents and the public to report a noise complaint or issue by calling the 24/7 noise hotline at 508-676-3550.

Additional construction is planned from April 2020 through December 2020. Over 18 weekends in 2019 and 2020, shuttle buses will also replace trolley service on various portions of the D branch from the beginning of service Saturday to the end of service on Sunday. 

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