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Mechanism aimed at keeping Muddy River floodwater out of a Green Line tunnel is disabling trolleys

Updated with news about another trolley getting snagged tonight.

A mechanism at the mouth of the Riverside Line's Fenway tunnel that is supposed to help protect the tunnel from flooding is now damaging some pantographs that power trolleys as they move between the underground and surface-level tracks.

The Riverside Line has been knocked out of service twice just today after the mechanism wrecked the pantographs - which connect the trolleys to the overhead power lines.

At least three trolleys today suffered damage severe enough that the T shut down service completely between Fenway and Reservoir this morning and started running buses instead, a source said.

Normal service resumed around 5 p.m., but another trolley got damaged tonight and the T is now scrambling to find buses to run as shuttles.

The mechanism is designed to close two large steel doors at the tunnel's "portal" in the event of potential flooding, to prevent a recurrence of a 1996 flood that shut Kenmore for a week and sent water into the Green Line tunnel as far away as Arlington Street.

The work is in addition to an ongoing project by the Army Corps of Engineers to reduce flooding along the Muddy River - the most visible part is the now "daylighted" section of the river in front of the Landmark Center, formerly an inadequately sized tunnel under a parking lot.

Although the $22-million MBTA flood-gate project was finished in late, 2020, the T is now trying to figure out what exactly is sometimes denting the pantographs that reach up from trolleys to the overhead power lines. Drivers were already supposed to slow down as they passed through the portal.

In today's incident, the drivers of two damaged outbound trolleys were able to get to Beaconsfield, while a third, inbound trolley made it to Fenway. The T was able to get all three to Riverside for repairs while workers tended to the wires at the portal itself.

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Comments

How much money was spent on the project? Transparency as to the engineers' reports on the study and any mention of this happening before they did it? I mean, the Green Line tunnels are ancient and scary.

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Voting closed 10

But it is entertaining and the longest running comedy show in Boston.

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Voting closed 9

I know great legends of comedy..
Carlin, Chappelle, Murphy, etc. always expressed comedy can be found in everything. But I've been violated by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority since a kid growing up on Montebello Road. 56 now and shit ain't funny anymore.

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Voting closed 7

The train that got me here, on the other hand, probably won't last the night...

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Voting closed 12

The service is slow, but the floor show is great.

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Voting closed 6

I'm going to use my highschool education and guess that that huge bar they put for the top of the flood gates sank. Weren't they expecting that to happen, like it does to all construction, eventually?

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Voting closed 6