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T workers battling bitter Valentine's Day cold

MBTA crews responded to several mechanical issues Sunday amid record-breaking temperatures
MBTA workers used kerosene to heat up and realign Orange Line tracks.MBTA

While most in Boston were taking shelter on this arctic Valentine’s Day, MBTA crews were braving the cold and fighting back against a record-breaking chill.

Sunday morning, Red, Orange and Green line trains saw delays ranging from moderate to severe due to mechanical issues.

T workers also repaired a broken rail at the Red Line’s Quincy Adams station.


“The T weathered the previous snow storms without any significant service disruptions thanks to extensive preparations and while crews worked very hard overnight to prevent any issues today, maintenance crews are todayaddressing some issues related to thecoldest temperatures in decades,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an email.

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On the Orange Line at Assembly, extreme cold brought T workers out to ignite rails with kerosene and warm them up with flames from a controlled burn.


Pesaturo said the method involves use of a “snake” kit – heat from the burn “allows for the rail to align back to its original configuration,” he said.

This weekend’s unusual deep freeze required some atypical preparations, Pesaturo said.

To keep air systems from freezing, T crews have been routinely emptying air tanks and inspecting trains, he said. Orange and Red line trains will be stored in tunnels overnight, and T personnel will “keep cycling the equipment and exercising switches to prevent freezing,” he said.

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