Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Diverging Route » Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:32 pm

I'm hearing there's going to be a big storm. :wink: So here's a thread to discuss its impact on MBTA operations.
User avatar
Diverging Route
 
Posts: 1560
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 3:35 pm

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:08 pm

I will be curious if people hear anything about suspension of service.

My father works a night shift and relies on the blue line. He will get off work at 5:30ish Tuesday morning. I am hoping he will be able to get home.
User avatar
Adams_Umass_Boston
 
Posts: 869
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2004 11:26 am
Location: Eastie

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby tvachon » Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:12 pm

It's likely we will see a commuter rail suspension or heavy delays/cancellations where the lines are not hugging the coast. With the lack of cab signals on some lines (e.g. Fitchburg), they are the first to be hit bad as visibility drops.

The revised forecast as of 16:00 from NOAA Taunton (KBOX for the NOAA geeks) is showing 24-36 from Springfield to just east of Boston and all parts north/south between

The image below is likely totals, more info here: http://www.weather.gov/box/stormtotalsnow

Image
tvachon
 
Posts: 183
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:34 am
Location: Shirley, MA

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby BandA » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:07 am

What is the plowing capability of the railroads & subway lines, Amtrak and the freight railroads?

But I think you have to take those totals with a grain of road salt. Certainly the the storm hype is going full blast. WCVB shows only a foot!! in places like Worcester, lol. look at slide 25 or http://www.wcvb.com/weather/hourbyhour-predicted-snowfall-totals/24025300
Last edited by BandA on Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
BandA
 
Posts: 1820
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby BandA » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:28 am

NEtransit roster showing Orange Line (1) jet snow blower, Red Line (3) one each jet snow blower, flat car with plow, snow blower, Green Line (6) wimpy looking non-powered mini snow plows (looks like a weighted down truck with a pickup-truck style plow on the front), Blue Line (0). Is that it?

See some pics on the internet of big wedge style railroad plows, but from 2011.
User avatar
BandA
 
Posts: 1820
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:48 am

BandA wrote:NEtransit roster showing Orange Line (1) jet snow blower, Red Line (3) one each jet snow blower, flat car with plow, snow blower, Green Line (6) wimpy looking non-powered mini snow plows (looks like a weighted down truck with a pickup-truck style plow on the front), Blue Line (0). Is that it?

See some pics on the internet of big wedge style railroad plows, but from 2011.


The 'wimpy' plows are usually adequate because they just run non-revenue trains back and forth as snow-pushers all night long. Green stopped needing anything like those ancient Type 3 powered plows when LRV lash-ups became powerful enough to push a non-powered trailer with equal-or-greater force.

The bigger concerns for rapid transit are going to be:
-- Downed trees on the D and C from the tropical storm-force winds. Downed wires on Blue and Orient Heights from the hurricane-force winds ripping one down in open air.
-- Blue. Which obviously takes a different type of pounding in an ocean storm than all the others. They can run Bowdoin-Logan pingbacks from the cars stuffed in the tunnel overnight, but how long will it be out-of-commission past Airport? Orient Heights would be first to reopen, but they have to worry about downed wires and flooding in the yard itself. And there's no telling what mess they'll have to clean up outbound of there.
-- Cold starts. Fleet availability's going to be a nightmare with all the drifting snow caked up into the cars parked outdoors getting sucked into the traction motors and whatnot. Central Subway is obviously going to be stuffed to the gills tonight with parked cars because availability out of Riverside and Reservoir is going to be dicey.
-- Digging out the yards.
-- "@#$% happens" stuff out of their purview like major power outages on the local grid or a water main break closing individual stations. And slower-than-normal fixes for those types of emergencies.
-- Keeping some outdoor platforms safely clear. If it happens to be at the right wind angle (especially if it's a station in a cut) the snow is going to re-drift and re-drift and re-drift the second it's cleared. Definitely some delays passing through, worst-case some individual stations have a late opening if they just can't keep a safe width of platform clear up to the yellow safety line until daybreak when it warms up enough for the snowmelt pellets to start to stick.
-- Staff availability. While I'm sure an over-full shift of MoW staffers...and then some...are going to work 12-hour shifts through the night and some operators will be bunking in at the carhouses to be ready for the morning, rapid transit staff have to commute to work too. No commuter rail means some are going to have to make alternate arrangements, and while the state will give them a safe highway escort to work as mission-critical staff that's easier said than done if there's a major highway shutdown (think shoreline-facing roads...Southeast Expressway, Route 1A, Route 3A, Route 128 on Cape Ann). Probably going to be threadbare crews for several hours.



B/C/E grade crossings shouldn't be an issue this time despite the drifting and monstrous plow mounds. This is going to be very dry, powdery snow...not the heavy wet stuff with the consistency of spackle like in the Blizzard of 2013. The constant churn of LRV plow mashups can blast right through some freakishly tall piles like it's no big deal when the snow is that powdery consistency. It'd be a much bigger problem if the mounds were half as tall but had twice the water.

Flooding shouldn't be a problem anywhere except on Blue. Too cold for ponding, very dry winter so far so low-lying areas not a concern.



Mattapan is obviously being bussed tomorrow. The jet snowblower has to blast the High Speed Line clear, and since it crawls very slowly to do its job there's no point to busting it out until the snow stops and the drifts settle enough to not drift right back up over the tracks. Those things are probably going to be strictly on yard duty tomorrow keeping Wellington and Cabot clear.

The E is obviously not running past Brigham until Thursday at minimum. And initially probably won't run past Northeastern because fleet availability problems always truncate it there.



Commuter rail...whooo-boy! We're not gonna see purple trains for a couple days. And anyone who values their sanity probably doesn't want to ride one until Thursday or Friday if they can avoid it.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7099
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Diverging Route » Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:22 am

A few years ago, MBCR published a contingency winter operations schedule, with reduced service -- most of the short turns/shuttles were cancelled, and on many lines full-length runs were reduced by 50%. I'm wondering if Keolis has that in its pocket, and will try that on Wednesday.
User avatar
Diverging Route
 
Posts: 1560
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 3:35 pm

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Arlington » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:21 pm

How is it that Boston doesn't already have a Snow Map published? Why do we have to hand-craft the response to something whose parameters are so fixed:
-- The tunnels are where they are
-- Storms like this hit about every 2-3 years

So why don't we already have pre-commitment to close some parts and operate others, like DC does, including a fixed webpage and fixed map (with underground segments in the full color and above-ground segments greyed out:
Image

NOTE: they even operate the freakishly-short (but very very dense) Pentagon-Pentagon City-Crystal City Yellow segment--3 isolated stations that are NO WHERE NEAR any yards. And if they actually do a short turn at Rosslyn on the Metro's Blue Line(they might just let OL & SV cover) is not operationally easy either, since inbound & outbound are on different levels (layout is identical to MBTA's Porter Sq) (it's either got to reverse in the tunnel before it surfaces near Cemetary beyond the station or, to reverse at the platform, do a switch back after it crosses the Potomac to Foggy Bottom)

Hand-crafting responses is crazy. Yes, pre-packaging is going to close some stuff "early" and struggle sometimes even in the tunnels, but the Gov should able to make 1 of four calls:
- Regular Weekday
- Saturday Schedule
- Snow Map
- All Closed

He should have the choice now of saying the Snow Map will be in effect from 9pm Mon to 9am Wed, and everyone should know what that means. Or all (public) ops suspended until 12n Tuesday, with Snow Map operations starting at Noon (or whatever)

Something like:

- GL Kenmore to North Sta
- RL Alewife to South Sta
- OL North Sta to Back Bay (or Tufts Medical, if it must be 100% tunnel)
- BL Airport to Bowdoin
- SV South Sta to WTC

This should not be a mystery.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
Arlington
 
Posts: 3197
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Gerry6309 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:40 pm

The Governor just announced that the MBTA will be shut down all day Tuesday - no exceptions.
Gerry. STM/BSRA

The next stop is Washington. Change for Forest Hills Trains on the Winter St. Platform, and Everett Trains on the Summer St. Platform. This is an Ashmont train, change for Braintree at Columbia.
User avatar
Gerry6309
 
Posts: 1484
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:46 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Arlington » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:48 pm

Gerry6309 wrote:The Governor just announced that the MBTA will be shut down all day Tuesday - no exceptions.

It the right call for what we've got. My question is, why haven't we demanded better?
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
Arlington
 
Posts: 3197
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby nomis » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:53 pm

Tomorrow's info is now posted on the MBTA site ...

If you think you can do better: http://mbta.com/about_the_mbta/career_opps/
Moderator: Metro-North (with CDOT), Photography & Video

Avatar: An overnight trip on Girard Ave. stumbles upon 6 PCC's and an LRV stuck within two blocks.
User avatar
nomis
 
Posts: 2017
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:52 pm
Location: MRS 43 (was QA 9 & QB 2)

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Arlington » Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:02 pm

nomis wrote:Tomorrow's info is now posted on the MBTA site ...

All modes 100% Closed.
nomis wrote:If you think you can do better: http://mbta.com/about_the_mbta/career_opps/

Jobs, like the system, currently shows no openings
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
Arlington
 
Posts: 3197
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby NH2060 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:13 pm

Here's the current forecast from the NWS/NOAA:
http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.ph ... MaBQmTF8y4

Looks like the city could get 22-32". Parts of Dorchester could actually see a bit more. I wouldn't be surprised if these projected snow totals go up within the next 12 hours. This storm could possibly top the February 2013 and January 2005 blizzards (the latter of which closed schools for a week IIRC).

Of course west of 495 the chances of getting 3 feet are good enough ;-)

Also as a side note to F-line winds in the city are forecasted to be 50mph or so. Those 75mph winds will be down in Nantucket; that's bound to be a scary situation!

Wonder if the T would suspend service earlier than 12:30 tonight with the storm expected to move in this evening..
NH2060
 
Posts: 1437
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:44 pm

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Arlington » Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:10 pm

WCVB's Hour-by-Hour snow predictor is still only showing 2.5" on the ground at 2AM Tuesday. Accumulated snow won't be the problem for shutting things down tonight, but wind-driven snowfall (heavier by then) will be an issue at 2AM.

Weather Underground shows the wind starting earlier, rising steadily from now (2pm) to 3am.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
Arlington
 
Posts: 3197
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Winter Storm of January 26-27, 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby YamaOfParadise » Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:51 pm

Arlington wrote:How is it that Boston doesn't already have a Snow Map published? Why do we have to hand-craft the response to something whose parameters are so fixed:
-- The tunnels are where they are
-- Storms like this hit about every 2-3 years

So why don't we already have pre-commitment to close some parts and operate others, like DC does, including a fixed webpage and fixed map (with underground segments in the full color and above-ground segments greyed out...

I think a lot of it is that DC's Metro system has significantly more underground, and is significantly more uniform. Considering every line is running with its own specs (in some way), and constructed in different ways, there are way more variables for system operability than in DC. Besides from different weather contingencies affecting the individual infrastructure differently, there's the fact in DC they can use their rolling stock on all of their lines, which is obviously a really big help in the whole "having trains to run" problem. That being said, I'm sure the MBTA could make better efforts to have at least something standardized, but.

At any rate, I'm curious to see how badly the powdery snow will plague the motive power after the snow has stopped falling out of the sky... because as long as the wind is blowing, it's still going to be going into exhaust vents and everywhere else it really shouldn't be.

I also imagine that the Old Colony lines are going to take quite a bit of clearing work to get back to being operable, since they're going to be hit particularly hard by wind.
Consider contributing detailed railway data to OpenStreetMap for use in OpenRailwayMap!
User avatar
YamaOfParadise
 
Posts: 372
Joined: Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:36 pm
Location: Middlesex County, Connecticut

Next

Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bramdeisroberts and 8 guests