- Associated Press - Monday, February 9, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority suspended all rail service on Monday amid an unprecedented onslaught of snow that has crippled the nation’s oldest public transit system, frustrating commuters and even stranding some on disabled trains.

All subway, trolley and commuter rail trains shut down at 7 p.m., and the MBTA announced there would be no service all day on Tuesday as crews scrambled to clear snow and ice from tracks and assess the damage the recent spate of storms has done to equipment.

Buses would continue running, officials said, but only on a limited basis.

A storm that began during the weekend left more than 20 inches of snow in Boston and many surrounding communities, adding to a record amount of snow that had fallen over the past 30 days.

Gov. Charlie Baker said the performance of the MBTA was unacceptable and that he planned to sit down with transit officials after the latest storm to discuss service disruptions.

In one incident earlier Monday, nearly 50 commuters had to be evacuated from a disabled Red Line train in Quincy after being stranded for more than two hours. No one was injured. Officials said the train lost connection to the electrified third rail because of the buildup of snow on the tracks.

Baker said his administration spent a lot of time during the weekend talking to public transit officials to make sure they could run an at least a scaled-back schedule during the latest storm.

“We’ve been disappointed by the fact that even that abbreviated schedule hasn’t been able to be maintained. Once it stops snowing, we plan to have a long conversation with the folks at the T about improving performance,” Baker said. “There are a lot of people at the T who I know have been working extremely hard, but this performance is simply not acceptable.”

Baker said after the announcement that rail service was being suspended that transit officials made the right call if they believed they could not deliver adequate service on Tuesday. He also said he did not want to engage in a “blame game” over who was responsible for the breakdowns.

Transit officials have said aging equipment has exacerbated the weather-related problems at the MBTA, a semi-independent agency and not under the direct control of the governor.

Joseph Dell’Erario was among those commuters catching one of the last Red Line trains out of Boston’s Park Street station. The 24-year-old salesman and Somerville resident said he didn’t blame the MBTA for the decision to suspend subway and rail service Tuesday.

“They’re clearly doing it for the safety of the public,” he said. “If they’re not going to be operating well, then they shouldn’t be operating at all.”

But frustration was setting in for many riders.

Earlier Monday at the T’s Red Line station in Cambridge’s Kendall Square, Cassie Smith said a delay had forced her to cut short a doctor’s appointment.

“I only got to see him for 10 minutes, so I’m just really frustrated,” Smith said as she headed home to Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. “It said it was arriving in 15 minutes but took a lot longer. I could have walked across the river faster if I had known.”


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