We All Hear a Yellow Multipurpose Machine

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

Planning for an extension of transit service north of Boston began all the way back in 1990, but it took more than two decades of planning and delays before the Green Line Extension finally broke ground in 2012. Though it’s likely difficult for residents to believe it, the project is now getting somewhat close to completion. Some of this construction is taking place relatively near me, and I receive occasional updates on it.

Last week, I was alerted to some night time work which will be done over the next several weeks. Here’s an excerpt from that email:

Somerville and Medford residents living near the GLX MBTA rail alignment— especially residents between Lowell Street and College Avenue—may experience elevated nighttime noise levels over the next few weeks.

“Elevated nighttime noise levels” certainly sound unpleasant, but I suppose to make an omelet, you need to break a few eggs. The email detailed the work to be done, and then explained:

The yellow Multipurpose Machine will be on the rails most nights to support this work and the vehicle is required to sound its horn when it stops and starts. Additional heavy machinery in the rail alignment is expected to produce elevated noise levels which may be disruptive at times. The scheduling of the work at night is because its completion requires at least one line of track to be out of service.

The emphasis in the above quote is added, and it bears repeating. In addition to all the noise which naturally accompanies the laying of new train track, a support vehicle used in this construction is required to sound its horn when it stops and starts. That sounds like it’ll be quite a night, or several weeks of nights. It also seems like adding real insult to injury for those living near this construction.

Fortunately for me, I don’t live near this construction, so I won’t be impacted. As a result, I’m most interested to know more about the “yellow Multipurpose Machine”. It’s capitalized as if it’s a proper noun, and yet at present, the only Google search results for it are from this exact press release.


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