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Old 01-26-2015, 09:44 AM   #1
Jahvon09
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MBTA Winter 2015: Failure and Recovery

Mayor Marty Walsh is saying that the impending snowstorm tomorrow might be a whopper of a storm, and that the MBTA could be affected by it. He may have all MBTA service suspended, possibly until Wednesday.

Gov. Charlie Baker is contemplating banning regular vehicles from using the streets & roads in Eastern Ma.!

Supermarkets & hardware stores are flooded with people trying to stock up for the storm!

Stores & businesses may close early today and may remain closed tomorrow! My cardiologist's office called me today to tell me that my appointment for tomorrow has been canceled!!

So if you have some place to go to tomorrow, you might be forced to WALK!!

Stock up now!!

Last edited by Jahvon09; 01-26-2015 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 01-26-2015, 10:06 AM   #2
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Re: MBTA & Regular Driving May Be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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Mayor Marty Walsh is saying that the impending snowstorm tomorrow might be a whopper of a storm, and that the MBTA could be affected by it
Gov. Charlie Baker is contemplating banning regular vehicles from using streets & roads in Eastern Ma.!
As auto use rose steadily, and got hit with the occaisional blizzard along the way, we learned that rush hours and heavy snow and snow-clearing don't mix, with the definitive lesson coming in 1978. but we kept daring fate in subsequent storms.

More than anything, you don't want a rush hour to bog down in the storm (or come anywhere close). Gov Patrick introduced new (and politically risky) best practices of shutting everything down early enough to ensure that there would be nobody trying to squeeze a few extra hours of work in, only to see a homeward rush get caught in the storm. He did the best job *ever* of saying "Go home and stay home" (which hadn't happend, really, in earlier storms).

top five snowstorms on record in Boston, Massachusetts since 1890:

1. 27.6" Feb 17-18, 2003
2. 27.1" Feb 6-7, 1978
3. 25.8" Feb 24-26, 1969
4. 25.4" Mar 31-Apr 1, 1997 (Easter Monday /April Fools Storm)
5. 24.9" Feb 8-9, 2013

Gov Baker's got it a bit easier because the storm will (mostly) hit after 8pm tonight and by Tuesday, it'll be politically-obvious that everything will be shut down to speed cleanup, and be back in business sooner.
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Old 01-26-2015, 10:56 AM   #3
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

Would be nice if more of the train system was underground, then it wouldn't matter. If that were the case the just the buses could shut down. However, with soo much rail (and "light" rail) above ground and no express tracks to re-route train traffic while any work is being done, a full shut down is likely.
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:07 AM   #4
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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Would be nice if more of the train system was underground, then it wouldn't matter. If that were the case the just the buses could shut down. However, with soo much rail (and "light" rail) above ground and no express tracks to re-route train traffic while any work is being done, a full shut down is likely.
I forget: does the MBTA do the "underground sections only will be operating" thing? I forget because it is such a logical thing to do that I expect it every time (but can't actually remember it happening)

You could at least do:
- Green Line Kenmore (loop on outbound end) to North Station
- Red Line Alewife to Broadway
- Blue Line Airport to Bowdoin
- Orange Line Community College

Can the (tunneled) Silver line do short turns without going to Silver Line Way?

WMATA (Washington MetroRail) is the master of the Snow Map, having published in advance what the core stations are that are tunnel-protected and can operate through snow. It ends up being a "core city" system, and shutting down the "commuter rail" parts:
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:29 AM   #5
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

Silver Line cannot short turn except at SLW. Community College and Airport are both outside, and the Red line runs over the Longfellow. Turning trains at Kenmore requires proceeding to Blandford Street.

That leaves you with Alewife-Kendall, Park-Andrew, Bowdoin-Maverick, and North Station - Tufts Medical. Manage to keep Blandford clear and you can add North Station - Kenmore and North Station - Symphony.
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:35 AM   #6
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

The T is officially closed tomorrow. Will run thru end of service tonight.
http://www.mbta.com/winter/

Driving ban in effect at midnight.

Sidenote: Highly disappointed in Gov. Baker's lack of vest in the MEMA bunker. Totally ruined my plans for a "who wore it better?"
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:45 AM   #7
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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Silver Line cannot short turn except at SLW. Community College and Airport are both outside, and the Red line runs over the Longfellow. Turning trains at Kenmore requires proceeding to Blandford Street.

That leaves you with Alewife-Kendall, Park-Andrew, Bowdoin-Maverick, and North Station - Tufts Medical. Manage to keep Blandford clear and you can add North Station - Kenmore and North Station - Symphony.
Seems like a snow map would still require not much money and a little forethought (that'd be operationally helpful at other times too:
-Snow shed over the segment from the BL's portal to Airport.
-Snow shed over SL to SLW
-Snow shed over OL from portal to Community College
-Operate C & D GL only at low headways on a single track, turning with reverse move at Kenmore and Symphony using crossovers before Copley

These are things that Boston should help pay for out of its "public safety" budget.
Crazy Pitch: Deck or Snow Shed over Orange from portal to Back Bay.
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:16 PM   #8
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
I forget: does the MBTA do the "underground sections only will be operating" thing? I forget because it is such a logical thing to do that I expect it every time (but can't actually remember it happening)

You could at least do:
- Green Line Kenmore (loop on outbound end) to North Station
- Red Line Alewife to Broadway
- Blue Line Airport to Bowdoin
- Orange Line Community College

Can the (tunneled) Silver line do short turns without going to Silver Line Way?

WMATA (Washington MetroRail) is the master of the Snow Map, having published in advance what the core stations are that are tunnel-protected and can operate through snow. It ends up being a "core city" system, and shutting down the "commuter rail" parts:
No, they wont operate only underground portions. If the entire line was underground there's be no reason to shut down subway, but any time a train on MBTA needs to 'reverse direction' all trains on the entire line must be brought to a stop according to MBTA policy.
So trains are not allowed to 'reverse' if they overshoot a station until dispatch gives them authorization that all of the other trains on the entire line have been stopped for them to back up a foot or two. That would be logistics nightmare to keep stopping all trains on the entire route because one wants to reverse at a track switch.

Last edited by Digital_Islandboy; 01-26-2015 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:31 PM   #9
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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Seems like a snow map would still require not much money and a little forethought (that'd be operationally helpful at other times too:
-Snow shed over the segment from the BL's portal to Airport.
-Snow shed over SL to SLW
-Snow shed over OL from portal to Community College
-Operate C & D GL only at low headways on a single track, turning with reverse move at Kenmore and Symphony using crossovers before Copley

These are things that Boston should help pay for out of its "public safety" budget.
Crazy Pitch: Deck or Snow Shed over Orange from portal to Back Bay.
After the blizzard of 78, the MBTA did run service only in the tunnel sections for at least a few days after the storm.

Although regular service is suspended for this storm, non-revenue trains will be running back and forth on all lines (except Mattapan-Ashmont) to keep the tracks clear. Trying to run revenue trains just in the subway gets in the way of the non-revenue trains trying to keep the lines open. To keep the portals clear, the non-revenue snow trains have to go to the nearest undeground cross-overs to change ends. Those are the same cross-overs that would have to be used to run tunnel only trains. Employees have to get to these trains to run the service, even if only in the tunnel. If there was an emergency (power out, derailment, smoke problem), first responders would have to get through the storm to the scene to evacuate passengers. . There won't be any bus service feeding the rapid transit system and if there is no revenue service on any surface section, the potential number of riders on a subway only segments would be limited. I rode some of the tunnel only service after the 1978 storm, and I remember there were not very many riders.

As far as major capital investment to maintain tunnel service after 2-3 feet of snow, doesn't seem like a wise investment for something that only happens a few times a decade (if that).
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:54 PM   #10
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

Here it is from Gov. Charlie Baker!


https://www.facebook.com/nisha.mills...riend_activity
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:56 PM   #11
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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As far as major capital investment to maintain tunnel service after 2-3 feet of snow, doesn't seem like a wise investment for something that only happens a few times a decade (if that).
It could be that the Feds stumped up the cash for WMATA to pull off its tunnel-only ops (after one big storm iced up all the switches, I know they spent a big chunk of cash upgrading the heaters precisely to maintain ops during storms.) I can't find when the Snow Map was promulgated. And yet, somehow, WMATA manages to juggle the three tasks:
- Storage
- Ops to keep the lines clear
- Underground revenue service
And to plan it all in advance. More crossovers? Better signals? Federal patronage? I don't know what the trick is, but I want some for Boston.

And big winter storms are becoming more frequent. Boston's climate change seems to be bigger winter storms more often (we went from '69 to '78 to '97 but then have had big storms in '03 '05 '13 and now '15).

Climate change for Boston is mostly going to come in the form of more precip (we get the water that others are losing in their droughts) and more winter storms (the main story won't be "warming" for us...at least not as a threat we need to specially prepare for).
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Old 01-26-2015, 01:35 PM   #12
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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It could be that the Feds stumped up the cash for WMATA to pull off its tunnel-only ops (after one big storm iced up all the switches, I know they spent a big chunk of cash upgrading the heaters precisely to maintain ops during storms.) I can't find when the Snow Map was promulgated. And yet, somehow, WMATA manages to juggle the three tasks:
- Storage
- Ops to keep the lines clear
- Underground revenue service
And to plan it all in advance. More crossovers? Better signals? Federal patronage? I don't know what the trick is, but I want some for Boston.

And big winter storms are becoming more frequent. Boston's climate change seems to be bigger winter storms more often (we went from '69 to '78 to '97 but then have had big storms in '03 '05 '13 and now '15).

Climate change for Boston is mostly going to come in the form of more precip (we get the water that others are losing in their droughts) and more winter storms (the main story won't be "warming" for us...at least not as a threat we need to specially prepare for).
The MBTA can run tunnel only service and has (197, the risk and cost have been determined to no longer be worth it. Might have to do an economic study to show how much is lost with not doing it a few times a decade vs. the risk. I don't think many (if any) capital upgrades would be required to do it. As I said, most of the MBTA rail system will be running throughout the storm, they just won't be carrying any passengers.
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Old 01-26-2015, 01:59 PM   #13
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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The MBTA can run tunnel only service and has (197, the risk and cost have been determined to no longer be worth it. Might have to do an economic study to show how much is lost with not doing it a few times a decade vs. the risk. I don't think many (if any) capital upgrades would be required to do it. As I said, most of the MBTA rail system will be running throughout the storm, they just won't be carrying any passengers.
I wonder what modal share of transit was the last time people looked? Heck, the RL didn't even go past Harvard in 1978, the GL was elevated at North Station, and the OL was still up on its elevated.

Politically, today, many more jobs and upscale votes depend on the T than they did for a long time past. THis is (another) one of those moments where Boston should also consider that *its* competitive advantage (vs the rest of the region) could be that it does better in the snow than, say, Watham or Burlington, and carve out a tunnel-only mode for itself.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:10 PM   #14
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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I wonder what modal share of transit was the last time people looked? Heck, the RL didn't even go past Harvard in 1978, the GL was elevated at North Station, and the OL was still up on its elevated.

Politically, today, many more jobs and upscale votes depend on the T than they did for a long time past. THis is (another) one of those moments where Boston should also consider that *its* competitive advantage (vs the rest of the region) could be that it does better in the snow than, say, Watham or Burlington, and carve out a tunnel-only mode for itself.
Very few people could work from home back in 1978. Weather forecasting was not as advanced, making it more difficult for employers to make arrangements ahead of time for critical employees to stay at work or be placed in hotels.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:26 PM   #15
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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Very few people could work from home back in 1978. Weather forecasting was not as advanced, making it more difficult for employers to make arrangements ahead of time for critical employees to stay at work or be placed in hotels.
I'm not above telling Bostonians how to spend their tax $. My suggestion is that they think about winterizing their transit for all the same reasons that suburbanites build garages for their cars. It is a better way to live.

Also, if you had heaters on the entire Longfellow bridge to keep the CWR above 38F degrees, wouldn't that, in addition to making through-the-storm ops easier, also be good lessening wear & tear (cracked rails in extreme cold)
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:52 PM   #16
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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I'm not above telling Bostonians how to spend their tax $. My suggestion is that they think about winterizing their transit for all the same reasons that suburbanites build garages for their cars. It is a better way to live.

Also, if you had heaters on the entire Longfellow bridge to keep the CWR above 38F degrees, wouldn't that, in addition to making through-the-storm ops easier, also be good lessening wear & tear (cracked rails in extreme cold)
There are third-rail heaters on the bridge. It's not really a question of can it (running tunnel only or limited service) be done, it is should it be done? (especially during an all mode travel ban at the height of the storm)
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:41 PM   #17
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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Crazy Pitch: Deck or Snow Shed over Orange from portal to Back Bay.
That will take care of itself once all the air-rights developments are done, in another century or two.
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Old 01-26-2015, 05:14 PM   #18
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

I was RIGHT!

The MBTA is NOT operating tomorrow!

No driving, no public transportation.

Stay in your homes! You'll be much safer there!

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Old 01-26-2015, 05:41 PM   #19
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

Amtrak is suspending service from Boston to New York tomorrow!!

Flights as far south as Washington are cancelled. Washington is also cancelling some service as well!
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:08 PM   #20
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Re: MBTA & Regualr Driving may be Shut Down During Coming Snowstorm!

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And big winter storms are becoming more frequent. Boston's climate change seems to be bigger winter storms more often (we went from '69 to '78 to '97 but then have had big storms in '03 '05 '13 and now '15).

Climate change for Boston is mostly going to come in the form of more precip (we get the water that others are losing in their droughts) and more winter storms (the main story won't be "warming" for us...at least not as a threat we need to specially prepare for).
Arlington -- there have always been Blizzards -- some even of the scale of the recent Epic ones -- its just that when the Big Storms happened in the past [e.g. the "Great Blizzard of '88" -- conveniently before the list of Blizzards since 1890] -- people walked, or took a sleigh on the roads -- or they stayed home



Now its becoming less critical for many people to work at work during a bad winter storm -- many people can log-on and work from home

Since a lot of the people taking the Red Line park at Alewife or arrive at Alewife or Harvard on a Bus - why run the train if the garage is empty of paying customers and the buses can't run

Ditto for Riverside and the Green Line and all the other stations with large garages or major bus terminals
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