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Boston rail officials cite improved performance; commuters still see delays

An MBTA official said the agency performed "very well through the last round of winter weather."
File

MBTA and commuter rail line officials said both services performed well during the intense snowfall that swept through Boston over the last few days, though Monday morning commuters were still greeted with delays.

Red Line riders between Alewife and Park Street experienced severe delays during peak rush hour at 8:30 a.m., when a disabled train lost power near Harvard station. An MBTA official said he incident was not weather related.

The wet, heavy snow also downed trees overnight, causing early-morning backups along theHaverhill and Lowell commuter rail lines. All trains were on time by 6 a.m., however.Passengers on a Providence linetrain were transferred to another train because of a power issue.

In the latest round, Boston avoided much of the forecasted snow, with only 3 to 4 inches falling to the ground as resident woke up Monday morning.

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ButMayor Marty Walsh cautioned that the city could be due for more snow later this week.

The National Weather Service said more snowfall is likely Wednesday, but withtemperatures expected to climb into the high 30s, the city could avoid snow accumulation once again.

After back-to-back snowstorms crippled the commuter rail line and T service in 2015, riders experienced major delays for weeks, and sometimes schedules were canceled altogether. Trains were on schedule just 32 percent of the time in February 2015.

By comparison, trains were on schedule 80 percent of the time from Thursday to Sunday,when two storms hit Boston, according to a spokesman for Keolis, which runs the commuter rail. Justin Thompson, the spokesman, described Monday’s delays as "moderate," but said overall the transportation system was running smoothly. Most delays were five to 14minutes for the extra time it took passengers to exit the trains in inclement weather, Thompson said.

RELATED: Boston blizzard dumps over a foot of snow

Last month, Gov. Charlie Baker's administration announced it did not intend to renew the contract with Keolis, which was criticized for its handling on the 2015 storms. The contract is set to expire in June 2022.

“We plan all year for winter," Thompson said, noting that crews were out salting ahead of storms andshoveling, de-icing doors and plowing during both recent storms.

"We'll take the same precautions in the event of future storms," he added.

The T also saw weekend service go off without much a hitch in its first major test since it spent more than $100 million on winter preparedness in the wake of the issues related to the 2015 storms.

"The MBTA performed very well through the last round of winter weather in providing safe service to its customers," said Lisa Battiston, an MBTA spokeswoman. "The MBTA is prepared to handle the upcoming weather and continues to plan for potential winter challenges later this week.”

 
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