Derelict by the railroad tracks in Medford, covered in graffiti and marred by broken windows, the old MBTA Orange Line cars are clearly not going out of style.
“It’s certainly an eyesore,” said Richard Caraviello, Medford City Councilman. “I hear there are people going in and out of them at night now.”
Caraviello said he has received about a dozen complaints in the past few months from residents in the River’s Edge Drive area, where the 40-year-old railcars are visible.
The MBTA is storing its old Orange Line cars, which are being scrapped, along a rail wall behind active train tracks to make room for its new fleet, said Christine Lentini, the T’s hazardous materials manager.
“There’s people drinking and smoking in there,” said Bill Saglik, 28. “I’ve seen the cops come in here a few times to check. I have heard from people here that they have heard noises from abandoned wagons.
Saglik lives in the Wellington Place apartment complex on Brainard Avenue, which he says is where many trespassers go to get to the abandoned trains through a low fenced area.
“It’s a nuisance,” he said. “I think they can do a better job of closing that area.”
Lentini said the T is working to remove two cars a week from the rail line in response to complaints from residents in the area, including those who live on Craddock Avenue, a small street that runs behind the wall where trains are stored.
She said some of the old cars had to be stored there because there was not enough capacity at Wellington Yard, which houses 78 cars from the new Orange Line fleet. The old cars are being scrapped by the T’s contractor, Costello Dismantling Co., at its Middleboro facility.
Slowing down the process, Lentini said, is that the T must comply with a number of regulations from MassDEP, to remove asbestos from cars, and MassDOT, which limits how much weight can be transported on state roads and bridges.
Between the trailer and the two-car train, about 160,000 pounds are transported from Medford to Middleboro, a trip that, with restrictions, takes two hours, stretches 120 miles and requires a state police escort, she said.
In response to neighborhood complaints, MassDOT also instituted a more restrictive curfew, restricting traffic from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Lentini said.
Twenty-eight of the Orange Line’s 120 old carriages had been removed as of Thursday, she said, and a total of four, between Wellington Yard and the railway line, are hauled away to be scrapped each week.
However, that timeline isn’t fast enough for residents who live in the area, who have been dealing with the problem for months.
Bok Lae, 55, who lives on Craddock Avenue, said the noise coming from the carriages late at night sometimes disturbs his sleep.
Caraviello said the city has also expressed its concern about the issue, but “getting the T to respond to anything is very difficult.”
“They’ve been there too long,” Caraviello said. “It’s not made to be a storage place for T.”