Passengers who must travel are urged to use caution as a foot of snow is forecasted with potential for blizzard conditions
BOSTON – March 12, 2018 – Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis) and the MBTA are preparing for the third significant winter storm over the last 11 days. Due to the forecasted high snow totals, potential for blizzard conditions and high wind gusts, commuter rail will operate an “Extremely Reduced” Schedule Tuesday.
Passengers can view train listings in an “Extremely Reduced” schedule online, in the Keolis app and on printed schedules that will be handed out at major stations today.
In November, the commuter rail published pre-determined schedule reduction tiers to deploy in severe weather, including “Reduced” and “Extremely Reduced” service levels. An “Extremely Reduced” Schedule is designed to provide transportation to those who must travel, while ensuring crews can safely clear rapidly falling snow.
According to the National Weather Service, the greater Boston area is expected to receive 12 – 18 inches of snow falling at a rate of 1 – 3 inches per hour in certain areas. In addition to these blizzard conditions, coastal areas are expected to experience wind gusts up to 60 mph, creating a potential for coastal flooding.
“If you must travel Tuesday, the commuter rail will operate an ‘Extremely Reduced’ Schedule,” said David Scorey, CEO and General Manager, Keolis. “We will have approximately 450 team members deployed clearing platforms, removing downed trees from tracks and operating the snow plow train. The expected light ridership allows us to run fewer trains and more safely and effectively perform storm operations on the network.”
Today, Keolis and MBTA teams tested and re-inspected snow clearing equipment for the tracks, including a snow plow train and a jet blower. The snow plow train clears deep snow off the tracks and snow banks from crossings. The jet blower clears snow, ice and debris from in between the rails and along switches to ensure proper operation.
Keolis has 70 back-up generators available in the event power is lost. Crews have re-filled resources, such as fuel and sand/salt mixes. Contractors have also been secured to help in the event there are a high number of downed trees or other issues that require added staff in the field. Approximately 250 trees and branches were cleared off the track during the past two storms.
With the heavy snow and potential for icy conditions, passengers who must travel should use caution when on platforms and provide additional time to travel to and from commuter rail stations. Keolis and the MBTA will provide updates on service to passengers via Twitter at @MBTA_CR, MBTA.com, T-Alerts, station signage and onboard announcements.