BOSTON - Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday declined to offer a timeline for when Red Line service will return to normal in the wake of Tuesday's damaging train derailment, citing an ongoing investigation into the cause and what's required to fix the system.
MBTA officials plan to provide an update Sunday on efforts to restore service through the JFK UMass area where a train derailed early Tuesday morning.
"I think everybody is frustrated about the inconvenience that's going to be associated with this repair work," Baker told reporters after an unrelated event in Charlestown. "We've talked to the T several times and I think there's a general agreement that whatever the interim strategy's going to be, it's going to be safe and people are going to do everything they can to make it convenient, but they're not going to know the answer to the question about when for probably several more days as they continue to review the damage that was done."
T officials said Thursday that crews have repaired all track and third rail damaged when a Red Line car with 60 people aboard derailed Tuesday, with work continuing on a damaged switch and signals area at the JFK/UMass stop.
Baker said he has had regular conversations with transportation officials, including Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack and MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, to check in on the repair status and plans to "continue to talk to them every day until service gets back to normal."
The derailment, the second in a week and the fourth this year, has ignited another round of expressions of frustration with the transit system as a whole.
Sen. Eric Lesser, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce President James Rooney and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone all separately described the T as in "crisis" on Tuesday, and Sen. Nick Collins of South Boston posted on Twitter Thursday that the MBTA "needs major new revenues & investments to drastically improve service and earn back the public's trust."
The Massachusetts Democratic party on Wednesday launched an online petition calling on the Republican governor to ride the T.
"I think my job is always the same, which is to work with our colleagues at the T and in the Legislature to ensure that the T has the funding that it needs to upgrade a system that hasn't been modernized for 30 years in many cases and to give people the best ride that we possibly can," Baker said when asked about the petition. "That's my job and that's what I'm going to stick to."
As critics pan the pace of improvements, and the impacts of system setbacks, Baker said he'd "love to see" reforms come more quickly to the MBTA, but that work needs to be done in the system's off hours.
"I think everybody would like the T to be fixed tomorrow, and we certainly put the resources on the table," Baker said. "The largest four-year investment in the history of the T to invest in its infrastructure, but we can't shut the T down to do the work every day, all day, because there are literally hundreds of thousands of people who rely on it every day to get where they go, so the work has to be done at night and on weekends, and that means it's going to take longer."