Frozen service: Boston commuters endure icy cold due to Green Line shut down (updated)

You know that feeling when the cold actually hurts your face? This guy does.

It was a freezing, frenzied fiasco this morning as thousands of Green Line passengers were evacuated from underground subway tunnels and herded onto sidewalks to wait for shuttle buses.

Passengers were removed from the Green line around 7:45 a.m. after Boston Fire officials ordered a power shutdown to investigate smoke from a smoldering cable between Arlington and Copley Stations, according to MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo.

The debacle came at the same time city officials held a media availability warning Boston residents to “limit the time outside whenever possible.”

Shuttle buses replaced Green Line service between Kenmore and Government Center until 11 a.m., when Green Line service was restored.

“Extreme cold can cause high loads on the MBTA power system. In this case, the bitter cold weakened an old cable which began to smolder and create smoke,” Pesaturo said.

The cable was disconnected from two points in the tunnel to isolate it, he said, and all other cables were tested for safety.

There is no word on how old the weak cable was, but according to Pesaturo, it will be replaced in the next few nights.

While waiting outdoors for shuttles, passengers had to endure icy wind chills well below zero. The National Weather Service reported the temperature in Boston had plunged to wind chills of -7 by 9 a.m.

 

Lisa Zelig, a 24-year-old Brighton resident, said she was frustrated with yesterday’s hiccup, but that T officials handled the situation well.

“I think it was more frustrating because it was such a cold day. On a more mild day people would have handled it better,” said Zelig.”But I feel like they responded pretty quickly with the shuttle buses. I was only outside for about 5 or 7 minutes.”

Zelig said she would like to see more outdoor bus shelters.

The unheated glass bus shelters are owned by the city, and the MBTA operates the heated shelters on the Silver Line.

According to a city spokesman, between 20 and 25 of those shelters will be added along key routes within the next year, and at least 16 more will be built within the next few years.

Keon Reed, 23, said it took him about an hour to get from Allston to Copley on his way to work this morning – about 40 minutes longer than usual.

He said it was the worst delay he has experienced, but that Green Line disruptions are not rare on his commute.

“I don’t blame the people working for the MBTA. One thing is clear, (the T) is underfunded. It’s such an important part of Boston’s economy to have an efficient transportation system. It just can’t be as inefficient as it is now,” he said.

It was the first big MBTA fiasco to face Beverly Scott, who recently left sunny Atlanta to take over as the T’s new general manager.

“This is another reason that we’re sitting up here talking about reinvestment… You deal with it. It’s not a time to become emotional,” Scott told the State House News yesterday.

Scott said transit workers and Boston Fire Department officials will analyze today’s response to see how to work “differently, smarter next time.”

[View the story "'The Green Line apocolypse of 2013'" on Storify]



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…