About a month ago, I took a tour of the MBTA Orange Line carhouse at Wellington Station with the Boston chapter of the Young Professionals in Transportation. We got to see what goes into keeping the 34-year-old trains running well past their designed lifetime. Have a look at the full Flickr album here.
As far as transit maintenance facilities go, this is pretty typical if only fairly old like the Orange Line cars themselves. At this facility, they refresh train bogies, weld patches over rust and holes, repaint trains, square the wheels of trains in spring an autumn when they are more prone to getting flats from wheel slip and getting dragged if they lock up, and all the small repair jobs between.
The majority of the heavy repair work happens at the Everett shops nearby. This includes full rebuild of some equipment and even popping the wheels off axles when they're so damaged or worn that they need to be completely replaced.
Our tour was relatively short and informal compared to the other tours I've been on at MBTA and NYC MTA facilities, but informative nonetheless. Suffice it to say, the employees take pride in what they do and undertake a considerable amount of work to keep afloat a fleet of trains that never got the top-down overhaul that most trains get when they hit middle age.
Over the next few months, we'll also take a long-delayed look at the Everett shops, bus training facility at the Charlestown Yard, and one of the ventilation buildings for the Central Artery (I-93).