Service on Green Line resumes after three-hour outage due to smoldering cable

Boston, MA., 01/23/13, A fire on an MBTA track shut down the Green Line, forcing commuters into the frigid temperatures as they took shuttle buses. This is in Kenmore Square. Waves of cold commuters made their way to inbound buses. Section; Metro Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff
Waves of cold commuters made their way to buses after fire shut down the Green Line.Credit: Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

With temperatures at bone-chilling lows and winds making it feel well below zero, hundreds of people were escorted this morning off trolleys stranded in the Green Line’s underground tunnels after a smoldering cable in the Arlington T station halted all service from Kenmore to Government Center, officials said.

Service on the line in the area was shut down for three hours, resuming shortly before 11 a.m., the MBTA said.

Firefighters responded at 7:57 a.m. to the station, the Boston Fire Department said in an official tweet. The department ordered the power to the trolleys shut down just after 8 a.m., MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.

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That meant seven trolleys full of rush hour passengers were stranded between Hynes Convention Center and Boylston stations, as well as between the E-Line’s Northeastern and Prudential Stations, Pesaturo said in an e-mail.

The T ran shuttle bus service while the trolley service was suspended.

Dry powder covers the electrical box (Boston Fire Dept.)

The shutdown of the Green Line forced hundreds of people out into what appears to be the coldest day of the year so far. The National Weather Service reported that the temperature at Logan International Airport was 10 degrees just before 8 a.m. and the wind chill made it feel like it was 6 degrees below zero. By 10 a.m. the temperature had risen to 12 degrees.

Adam Gressen, 21, was one of many stranded at the E-Line’s Brigham Circle station, concerned about reaching his final destination. The weather only added complications.

“It’s a cold day, so it’s going to be kind of a pain,” Gressen said.

Boston University student Jessi Ensenberger, 22, was on her way to class and said she was already running 10 minutes late even before the shutdown.

“It looks like I’ll probably be late” for class, she said. “ I have no idea how I’m going to get there. I guess I’ll have to figure it out.”

By the time Boston firefighters arrived at the Arlington Station, the smoke was mostly gone, with only a strong burning smell remaining, said Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.

Firefighters instructed the T to shut down power so they could safely investigate the source of the smoke condition, officials said.

The T isolated the cable, restored power, and made tests before service resumed, Pesaturo resumed.

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