Keolis Making Preparations to Ensure Normal Commuter Rail Operations During Extreme Cold 

BOSTON, MA – December 15, 2016 – With bitter cold temperatures expected throughout the region, Keolis Commuter Services is making preparations now to ensure normal operations for the MBTA Commuter Rail system over the next few days.

“Our number one goal is to operate every MBTA commuter rail train on time, every day, for the more than 127,000 passengers who rely on a well-functioning, safe and reliable system,” said Ernest C. Piper, Chief Mechanical Officer for Keolis. “Our riders deserve nothing less – even in the face of extreme cold and other winter weather – and that is what we are relentlessly focused on.”

Specific steps being taken to prepare for extreme cold include the following:

  • Patrolling all lines and inspecting the rails for signs of weakness, which can occur during times of extreme temperature fluctuations 
  • Pre-treating platforms, walkways and stairs at stations and facilities with salt and sand to prevent icy conditions from developing in case of precipitation. 
  • Activating heaters on switches to ensure they are fully operational
  • Making de-icers and bagged sand available in control cars and at select stations to use as needed
  • Checking equipment and parts, such as air hoses and air reservoirs, to safeguard against moisture infiltrating the locomotive air systems 
  • Ensuring continuous fueling and re-fueling of locomotives
  • Conducting ongoing safety audits at all facilities to catch any potential impacts on mechanical service, and to ensure that all train doors remain closed.

To reduce the risk of impact to the locomotive fleet, and the ability to operate the commuter rail in extreme cold weather, Keolis will also keep all trains in idling mode overnight from just before midnight on Thursday until regular service begins on Friday morning, and again from Friday night to Saturday morning. The extreme cold temperatures, coupled with high winds, can put certain systems within the locomotive, such as radiators and toilet lines, at risk for freezing, and can cause damage to piping, hoses, and the locomotive engine itself.

Residents living in close proximity to commuter rail layover locations may experience some extra noise on Thursday and Friday night. Local officials have been notified of these plans.

“While we recognize that this represents a temporary inconvenience for local residents, it is absolutely necessary to support continuous operation of the commuter rail system in the face of extreme weather,” said Piper.

Passengers will be alerted about the forecasted cold temperatures, with suggestions that they dress warmly, use caution on platforms and when boarding trains, and if there are any delays expected as a result of cold-related speed restrictions. Passengers and local residents are encouraged urged to contact Keolis Customer Service with any questions or concerns:


Phone: Keolis Commuter Services customer service call center operates from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., weekdays and 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM weekends and holiday . Contact us at (617) 222-3200 (Deaf or Hard of hearing TTY  617-222-5146)

Twitter: @MBTA_CR

Layover locations where trains will idle overnight 

North Station side Address
Bradford/Haverhill 88 Railroad Avenue, Haverhill, MA 01835
Newburyport 9 Newburyport Turnpike, Newbury, MA 01951
Rockport Station Square, Rockport, MA 01966
Westminster 55 Theodore Drive, Westminster, MA
South Station Side Address
Greenbush/Scituate 3 Driftway, Scituate, MA 02066
Kingston 60 Marion Drive, Kingston, MA 02364
Pawtucket 9 Railroad St / Ex 25 RT 95S, Pawtucket, RI 02860
Franklin 100 Depot Street, Franklin, MA 02038
Needham 130 West Street, Needham, MA 02492
Worcester 6045 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester, MA 01604
Middleborough 130 West Clark Street, Middleboro, MA 02346