Derailment investigation ‘zeroing in’ on cause, new trains remain out of service
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Derailment investigation ‘zeroing in’ on cause, new trains remain out of service

All of the MBTA’s new Orange and Red line cars will remain out of service for several more weeks as engineers continue to investigate the cause of a March derailment.According to MBTA officials, one of the new Orange Line trains was going at a slow rate of speed and was crossing over to the southbound track at 11:40 a.m. on March 16, when the third car on the train derailed.About 100 passengers were on board at the time. No injuries were reported.On Monday, Deputy General Manager Jeff Gonneville presented an update on the investigation to the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board. He said the investigation into the derailment is now focused on an issue that appears to develop as the new trains are worn. He showed the board video of a test unit, which he compared to an air hockey table, which is used to calculate the forces acting on the truck frame. Gonneville said multiple cars were put through the test.”What we found after we built this test rig was that the force that is necessary to essentially rotate the truck frame is increasing directly with the mileage of the vehicle,” he said. Gonneville said the investigation involves CRRC, the train car manufacturer, and component sub-contractors. “Right now, our engineers are really zeroing in — not just the MBTA engineers but the entire investigation team — zeroing in on the site bearer pads,” he said. He told the board the purpose of the pads is to regulate the rotation force of the truck. “The phenomenon that we’re basically seeing is that as the pads are wearing or wearing down the coefficient of friction of those pads is increasing, so essentially they are gripping more as the pads are beginning to wear,” Gonneville said. Engineers are still awaiting test results, including microscopic material analysis of the pads, to confirm the diagnosis. Gonneville said he felt “pretty confidently” that he will be able to present information about a plan to reintroduce the vehicles when gives a scheduled update to the FMCB on June 7.

All of the MBTA’s new Orange and Red line cars will remain out of service for several more weeks as engineers continue to investigate the cause of a March derailment.

According to MBTA officials, one of the new Orange Line trains was going at a slow rate of speed and was crossing over to the southbound track at 11:40 a.m. on March 16, when the third car on the train derailed.

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About 100 passengers were on board at the time. No injuries were reported.

On Monday, Deputy General Manager Jeff Gonneville presented an update on the investigation to the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board. He said the investigation into the derailment is now focused on an issue that appears to develop as the new trains are worn.

He showed the board video of a test unit, which he compared to an air hockey table, which is used to calculate the forces acting on the truck frame. Gonneville said multiple cars were put through the test.

“What we found after we built this test rig was that the force that is necessary to essentially rotate the truck frame is increasing directly with the mileage of the vehicle,” he said.

Gonneville said the investigation involves CRRC, the train car manufacturer, and component sub-contractors.

“Right now, our engineers are really zeroing in — not just the MBTA engineers but the entire investigation team — zeroing in on the site bearer pads,” he said.

He told the board the purpose of the pads is to regulate the rotation force of the truck.

“The phenomenon that we’re basically seeing is that as the pads are wearing or wearing down the coefficient of friction of those pads is increasing, so essentially they are gripping more as the pads are beginning to wear,” Gonneville said.

Engineers are still awaiting test results, including microscopic material analysis of the pads, to confirm the diagnosis.

Gonneville said he felt “pretty confidently” that he will be able to present information about a plan to reintroduce the vehicles when gives a scheduled update to the FMCB on June 7.

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