BOSTON (CBS) – When it’s this cold, you don’t want to spend too much time outside or frostbite could set in.

That was the complaint from many MBTA riders Monday morning as the frigid weather led to disabled trains on several subway lines.

The delays left riders out in the bitter cold and many vented on Twitter.

Here’s a sample:

@alisonCsays: People are running laps around the #mbta station just to stay warm.

@TraveleatloveMM: The news should just report when the #mbta is NOT delayed or having problems.

@roadielocks: Seems all trains having serious delays. Will I ever get to work? Love how we can count on you, #MBTA, on days when we need you most.

@semanticart: Is the #mbta trying to kill people with lack of info on D-line delays? I stood in subzero for over 25 minutes before bailing. Unacceptable.

@byelenak: Major MBTA delays on the coldest day of the year is not only unacceptable but it could cause some to get frostbite. #MBTA

Read: MBTA Twitter Page

MBTA General manager Richard Davey told WBZ-TV the bitter cold air had a major impact on the air brakes.

“A lot of our breaking systems, the Green Line in particular, Orange Line, Red Line, all work off air and so that severely disrupted the propulsion systems on four Orange Line cars this morning which caused significant delays and on the Green Line, the D line had some delays,” Davey said.

“I’ve got my team looking at that to make sure we can prepare for tomorrow morning’s rush hour, that too is going to be cold obviously.  But, this is the coldest day in six years in Boston, so it’s certainly taken a toll on the equipment.”

Comments (30)
  1. Bruce F. says:

    I would like to know what is really going on at the MBTA. It isn’t just today. For the past 2 weeks there have been delays and cancellations on the commuter rail out of North Station during the evening commute. It isn’t just happening on the bad weather days either, it is happening every day and on all lines. Most days I check the MBTA web site to see if there any alerts and most days there are none listed for the Rockport/Newburyport line, yet when I get to North Station in time for the 5:40PM train, I find that train delayed and the 5:55 PM train to Beverly canceled. This past Friday, I arrived at North Station at 5:42 PM and the board read “On-Time” for all lines except 1. While I was standing there, the next 3 trains on the board all went to “Delayed”. There was no explanation given, just a “We’re sorry for the inconvenience.” We all want to know – why is this happening? I am personally paying $ 163.00 a month for my pass and think that I deserve better service.

    1. Joe R. says:

      This has also been the case on the Commuter Rail out of South Station. It’s been a very poor start to 2011 for the MBTA and MBCR.

      The MBCR removed a car from some Middleboro/Lakeville trains. This leaves them packed and I don’t mean “I want to sit alone” packed I mean “I guess I’ll stand in the middle of the isle.” Once Middleboro/Lakeville 5-car train was after the previous was cancelled leaving twice as many people on a train with less capacity than it used to have.

      It’s hard to justify the monthly cost for such poor service. I stand on the bus, I stand on the Red Line and now I stand on the Commuter Rail.

    2. Budd says:

      I was told a bridge was stuck last week.

    3. Budd says:

      Ya I went to Beverly to catch the 5:40 train heading to the Celtics game last week. The train was at the station when I arrived. But they told me a bridge was stuck up on the Salem/Beverly line. They had us take buses to Salem.

    4. Kayla says:

      Amen. The 4:45 train out on the Rockport line is cancelled more often than not. No reasons given.

  2. KevinM says:

    Stay tuned…tonight should be an adventure! It’s 11am and already they have already posted cancelations of some Newbury/Rock rush hour commute trains…

    Newbury/Rock 154 05:55 AM, 65 03:30 PM, 66 04:22 PM, 67 04:45 PM cancelled 1/24/2011 11:08 AM

  3. Ron says:

    Yesterday was terrible along the B-Line as people had to wait nearly 30 minutes for an inbound train before a 1 car train finally showed up closely followed by a full train.

    It was almost as bad as the time I got stuck @ N. Quincy a few years back. The train pulled up to the edge of the platform and sat there. Until 2 outbound trains came through our train wouldn’t enter the station and wouldn’t take on passengers and a bitter cold wind blew across the platform. When they finally let passengers on, they left the doors wide open to the winds for another 5 minutes waiting for another outbound train to approach.

    And Bruce is right. These problems are ongoing. Surprisingly, they always seem to magically pop up as soon as 5PM rolls around. Evening service on the green line becomes a joke at 5PM and it’s been doing this for quite a while. It’s great sitting at Park counting 10 Govt. Center trains roll in before anything outbound shows up.

    When it’s cold, the train shut down. When it’s hot, the trains shut down. A gentle breeze and temperate weather? Same deal. Rainy days, dry days, there’s always an excuse (when they feel like offering one) for no service.

  4. Jan says:

    I hear ya, fellow Newburyport/Rockport riders! The number of delays in the last couple of weeks have been ridiculous. But nothing shows the incompetence of the MBTA like stopping the orange line train to Oak Grove at Community College and making everyone get off and stand on the outdoor platform because that train needed to go back to North Station. They couldn’t have at least thought to let people off at North Station where they could wait inside while the train turned around at Community College?

  5. justwait1 says:

    The Providence commuter trains, that share corridor with Amtrak, have been delayed just about everyday lately. The service is poor, always has been, but this year’s storms have made it even worse than usual bad service. As some mentioned above, not sure why we aren’t getting accurate Alerts from or traffic updates on local news. Really, we should be told only when the lines ARE on schedule, all other times assume you will be delayed. Downed electrical overhead cables, frozen car doors, switches, doors, hoses….u name it, they experience it. Yeah, we get it, it’s cold for machinery. Canada (ViaRail) does not have these issues. MBTA and Amtrak are a disgrace to this nation!!

  6. BB says:

    Funny how the Governor always says to take public transportation when the weather is going to be bad. Hey, Gov Patrick this is why the traffic in this state is horrendous because people can’t rely on the MBTA to get to work on time.

  7. Gene says:

    Any Green Line service is atrocious 24/7/365! The C and E lines especially.

  8. Cynic says:

    I’m no great fan of the MTA but sometimes I’m amazed at how much they have to overcome to give the service that they do. One thing that does bug me no end is on Comm ave when the Trolley finally gets there and then flies past without slowing down while you stand there and freeze your gazookie off.

  9. alleydweller says:

    Hey Mr. Davey, all your customers “work off air” too, and we experienced the same temperatures this morning that your equipment did – but, we got our equipment moving!

  10. L.G. says:

    To back up what others have said: the lack of service today may be noticeable, but it is an ongoing problem. Not once in 2011 have I got to North Station in the evening to find trains there and ready to leave on time. The 5 PM Rockport train comes to the station empty from the train house (so a delayed inbound train should not be a problem) yet it is never there. No trains are. What is happening at the dispatch center?

    The subway is no better. I waited a half hour one night last week for a green line train. The only outbound line that came through Government Center was the E – again, for a half hour during rush hour.

    Somehow beyond the New England winter seems to be going on and I’d be grateful for a reporter who figured out what it is.

  11. Cynic says:

    Somewhat in defense of the MTA…….Compressing the Air for the Brakes does cause condensation and water does tend to freeze in zero degree weather.

  12. Jeff says:

    Ya think the MBTA could plan ahead and prepare for what is to come. I take the commuter rail and it’s always signal or switch problems. Think ahead folks and start getting ready at 3am for the 6:00 commute. Every Framingham train was over an hour late. UGH!!!

  13. frozenPIPES says:

    I think this shows what happens when you don’t fund public transit well enough. Maybe if we asked the state to put a little more in the T’s pocket, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  14. Budd says:

    I took the commuter rail out of Beverly last week to go to a Celtics game. And they said a bridge was stuck.

  15. Goldfish says:

    “A lot of our breaking systems, the Green Line in particular, Orange Line, Red Line, all work off air and so that severely disrupted the propulsion systems on four Orange Line cars this morning which caused significant delays and on the Green Line, the D line had some delays,” Davey said.

    I am quoting the comment…. “some delays” makes it sound so mundane. I stood at Newton Highlands (D line)from 7:40 am to 8:20 am and then had the smarts to go to a nearby coffee shop and wait another 40 minutes…. Atleast 200 people stood on the platform staring at the disabled 3 car train sitting empty at the station. So my 2.5 hour commute this morning from Needham to Longwood… may have been one delay but it had a large ripple affect on the sheer number of people sitting at each station, from Riverside to Fenway…. in the below zero temps.

    I would dispute that the D line should have been included in the “significant delay” category………

  16. A frozen rider says:

    Enough is enough. Privatize the T, and get rid of the inept management and useless workers If they were forced to make a profit without all of the subsidy money given to them by the legislature, things might have a chance to improve.

  17. Cynic says:

    The T was privatized once…It was called The Boston Elevated Street Railway (The El)…. It went belly up…Thats why we have the T now.

  18. A positive outlook says:

    Out of all the trains in the MBTA fleet the Blue line trains (built by Siemens) were able to perform in the sub-zero temperatures. This means the T should invest in more Siemens trains for all lines!!

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