MBTA Has ‘Significant Problems;’ Riders Urged to Avoid Red Line

–AP

Due to the effects from the recent winter storm, the MBTA is experiencing severe delays across its subway and commuter rail lines and is asking commuters to avoid using the Red Line Tuesday.

MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott told Fox 25 that all lines were experiencing “significant problems’’ due to snowy and icy weather conditions. She said it would take four-to-five days to get back up to speed, assuming that the weather returns to warmer conditions.

At just before 9:30 a.m., shuttle buses replaced the Green Line between Kenmore and Haymarket Stations because of a broken rail on the westbound track near Copley, the MBTA said. The problem was fixed and trolley service resumed at 11:45 a.m.

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The Blue Line has experienced severe delays since a little before 1 p.m. due to a switch problem at Orient Heights.

Morning delays were most acute on the Red Line because of its aging equipment, which are “more than telling its age over this week,’’ Scott said. The MBTA was down about half of its Red Line vehicles. Scott said the problems were due to “the lack of investment through the years.’’

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said that the problems had more to do with the historic nature of the weather than with the age of the trains.

“If it was a state-of-the-art system with all new equipment, there would be problems,’’ Walsh said.

Governor Charlie Baker said it was “unacceptable for commuters to experience these delays’’ in an interview with the Boston Herald.

Driving wasn’t much better, with streets limited by the snow and traffic backed up across the city. Notice this Google Maps traffic view from this morning, in which streets colored red represents slow-moving roadways.

The storm has also brought “Snowzilla’’ out of hibernation. That’s the name for the rarely-seen piece of equipment that uses a jet engine’s exhaust to blast snow off the tracks, generally on the Mattapan line.

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An MBTA spokesman said they would use Snowzilla to clear the tracks and switches at the Red Line trains’ maintenance facility and yard in South Boston.

Scott also told The Boston Globe that the MBTA would not be able to increase service for the Patriots victory parade scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m.

“I will not put out equipment that I think, in many instances, I do not think I can run safely,’’ she said.

The MBTA will not be collecting fares today for riders boarding commuter rails between Braintree and JFK/UMass, Fox 25 reports.

The MBTA released a statement Tuesday morning:

A week of constant exposure to frigid temperatures, ice, and record snowfall has taken a major toll on the MBTA’s vehicles and infrastructure. Rail service, particularly on the Red Line and Commuter Rail, will be severely impacted. Due to a shortage of fully functioning subway cars, customers are asked to consider an alternative to the Red Line today.

The MBTA is asking commuters to check its website for service alerts.

Monday’s storm brought more than a foot of snow to the Boston area. According to the National Weather Service, Boston set a record Monday for its snowiest 7-day period in history.

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