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

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.