BOSTON – The MBTA is preparing for the winter season and is encouraging riders to subscribe to T-Alerts on mbta.com before the next snowflake falls to receive updated service information. T-Alerts are a text or email alert tool that informs riders of changes in service, including weather impacts. Riders are also encouraged to follow @MBTA and @MBTA_CR on Twitter and visit the T’s Winter Travel Guide at mbta.com/winter.
During severe weather, the MBTA will modify storm schedules for its bus, subway, and Commuter Rail services. Storm schedules are available on mbta.com in the event of a storm. The MBTA also provides riders with up-to-date service information on its in-station digital screens.
The MBTA continues to invest in winter resiliency through investments in its network of snow-fighting equipment. The MBTA has also coordinated with its municipal partners to ensure that bus stops and railroad crossings are free of snow following a storm.
Each year, the MBTA conducts winter weather preparedness drills to exercise its storm preparedness and response, including running snow-fighting equipment and simulating storm cleanup activities.
The MBTA’s fleet of snow-fighting vehicles includes two jet engine-powered snow blowers capable of generating 3,000 lbs. of thrust. With the ability to change direction on a subway line, each unit can be pre-deployed anywhere on the subway system as well as within subway yards. Additional jet engine-powered snow blowers have been modified to be attached to heavy equipment and are capable of being deployed on roadways and subway rails as needed. Snow plows are also installed on a several dozen Red and Orange Line cars, allowing them to clear snow from rails while continuing to operate passenger service.
The MBTA also utilizes third rail anti-icing systems. Deployed on Red, Orange, and Blue Line Heavy Rail vehicles, the anti-icing system is a pre-treatment process applied in advance of snow or icy weather that prevents ice build-up on the third rail. This year, the MBTA also installed 25 gas-powered hot-air blowers at critical rail switches.
With specific locations known to be prone to commercial power outages, the MBTA has also invested in mobile generators that can be pre-deployed during instances of extreme weather conditions. System-wide tree trimming also continues to take place along Commuter Rail and subway right-of-way areas to mitigate the potential for fallen tree limbs on tracks and overhead wires. Real-time monitoring at critical Commuter Rail interlockings will also continue this year, including switch heaters, third rail heaters, and trip heaters.