One small cable for an electrician, one big pain for commuters

MBTA Photo

It was a just a little thing, but it failed big on Wednesday, ruining countless morning commutes.

Beverly Scott, the MBTA general manager, and Michael Turcotte, assistant general manager, today examined a piece of the Green Line cable that began smoldering, forcing thousands of riders to wait for shuttle buses in the cold.

Service on the Back Bay stretch of the line was shut down from about 8 a.m. to shortly before 11 a.m. due to the cable failure. The cable had begun to fray with age. Single-digit temperatures put extra stress on the wiring, which began to smoke as the rubber insulation melted.

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A second cable began smoldering just before 9:45 p.m., forcing closure of Arlington Station. Power was restored about 11:20 p.m., the Globe reported this morning.

MBTA workers will be testing and making repairs to cables in the Green Line tunnels for the next several days to prevent a recurrence of the failure, an MBTA spokesman said.