Crews positioned across the commuter rail network to respond to tidal flooding, high winds and snow
BOSTON – March 1, 2018 – Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis), the MBTA’s commuter rail operating partner, is preparing for a winter storm expected to arrive Thursday evening and last into Saturday morning. Additional resources are being deployed to protect commuter rail infrastructure from potential flooding, damaging winds and snowfall across the network.
According to recent weather forecasts, coastal communities may experience flooding with the storm lasting through three tidal cycles. High winds are expected in addition to heavy rains that will last from Thursday evening into Saturday morning. Snow is also forecasted to develop from Friday evening into Saturday with lesser amounts accumulating at the coast and higher amounts expected in the state’s interior.
After a tidal surge impacted track infrastructure on the Newburyport/Rockport line in January of this year, crews are taking additional precautions to protect key track infrastructure susceptible to coastal flooding. This work includes positioning generators and pumps at low lying areas, clearing culverts and distributing over 500 sand bags to strategic locations across the network. Additionally, crews will have chainsaws available to clear any downed branches and professional tree removers are on standby. Track inspections will occur Friday and Saturday mornings to identify any obstructions prior to service.
On Friday, March 2 the Greenbush line will have additional capacity to accommodate an increase in ridership should ferry service be suspended due to high seas.
With varying snow totals expected across the region beginning Friday evening, teams will be deployed to treat all passenger areas with salt before trains begin to operate Saturday morning. Personnel will also work to perform preventative maintenance on equipment and maintain the operation of key switches and signals for the storm’s duration.
“Over the last few days we have been monitoring the storm closely taking the necessary steps to ensure safe conditions for our passengers. We’re planning to operate a normal service and will have teams in place to deal with arising issues, although we can expect challenging conditions with such high winds, rainfall and the tidal surges,” said David Scorey, General Manager and CEO of Keolis. “Passengers should use caution when traveling and watch for updates provided by our customer service teams on Twitter, via T-Alerts and at stations.”
Passengers are encouraged to check schedules for any service-related updates. Keolis will provide these updates via Twitter at @MBTA_CR, MBTA.com, T-Alerts, station signage and onboard announcements. Area residents who see or experience issues on the network or at commuter rail stations can report these to Keolis at 617-222-3200.