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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Faulty design of new Orange Line trains may have caused electrical failure

The MBTA is looking into whether certain parts of the new Orange Line trains were “appropriately designed,” after discovering that the mechanical failure found in nine new cars may have been caused by ill-fitting materials.

Erik Stoothoff, chief engineer and acting chief operating officer, said the “end connector,” or the connection point to the frame body, is potentially undersized for the cable that is being used to provide grounding in the new train cars.

“All failure points have been cracking or cracked terminal end connectors,” Stoothoff said. “So, not an integral failure of the cable itself or the connection of the cable to the terminal end. The failures have all been cracked terminals at the bolted connection point.”

He said the issue does not lie with assembly of the vehicles, but rather in how the new cars were designed.

The MBTA received a supply of replacement cables from CRRC, the Chinese company manufacturing and assembling the new Orange and Red Line trains, and is putting those new parts into place, Stoothoff said.

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