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MBTA Suspends All Rail Service Tuesday For Snow Cleanup

BOSTON (CBS) -- Gov. Charlie Baker is "frustrated" and "disappointed" with the MBTA as it struggled to maintain even a limited schedule during Monday's snowstorm.

The MBTA announced that all rail service will be suspended beginning at 7pm Monday night due to the snow. Rail service will be suspended all day Tuesday while maintenance crews continue to clear snow and ice from tracks, the third rail and switches.

According to MassDOT, the accumulating snow is making it virtually impossible to keep rail lines operational. "From a safety perspective, the MBTA is concerned about the risk of multiple disabled trains that would require evacuations on the tracks, potentially in the dark," a MassDOT spokesperson said in a statement.

The MBTA also says all Hingham, Hull and Charlestown Ferry service will be suspended on Tuesday.

Limited MBTA bus service will continue until the end of regular service hours Monday, but customers are advised that connections to subway and Commuter Rail lines will not be available. Bus service will be available on an "extremely limited" basis Tuesday.

"If they don't think they can run the service tomorrow, I'm glad they said that today," Governor Baker said at a Monday evening press conference. "That at least gives people the ability to act accordingly."

In response to the T's decision, Governor Baker declared a partial snow day and asked all non-emergency state employees who live or work in Suffolk, Middlesex, Essex and Norfolk counties to stay home on Tuesday.

Reaction from WBZ-TV's Jon Keller

A train on the Red Line lost power Monday morning between two stations in Quincy, and firefighters had to evacuate about 50 riders to safety. On Monday afternoon, the MBTA said there were severe delays on the B branch of the Green Line due to a disabled train.

"I admit these are unprecedented levels of snow that has fallen over the course of 14 days, there's no doubt about that," Baker said earlier Monday. "But this is simply unacceptable."

Quincy Red Line Train
Passengers evacuated from the Red Line train Monday morning. (Photo credit: Scott H.)

There were major delays across the public transportation system last week during the extreme snow and cold. Up to two feet of snow was expected in Boston through Tuesday morning, and the threat of more snow and freezing temperatures loom later in the week.

"The first time that happens you can blame it on the weather, but after a while it starts to feel like something more," Baker said.

Commuters rushed to get on the final trains out Monday night. "We missed the 5:15, and then they announced that they are canceling all trains after seven, and then they announced that they're not going to have trains tomorrow," Lorna Lynch said. "All I want to do right now is get home."

Kindergarten teacher Thuy Tran's adventure provides a lesson on what commuters are enduring. "I was waiting at Somerville Davis for 45 minutes and by the time I got to Park Street, it was shut down," Tran says. "I walked to South Station to hopefully catch an Uber."

"It's unacceptable, we have to get to work," commuter Larry Spang says. "Our jobs depend on getting down here and getting into the city. There's no other way."

MBTA Bus Stuck
MBTA buses stuck in the snow at the Braintree T stop. (Image credit: Bill Shields-WBZ-TV)

Baker said his administration had been talking to MBTA officials over the weekend to make sure they'd be able to run a limited schedule during Monday's storm.

"We've been disappointed by the fact that even an abbreviated schedule hasn't been able to be maintained," Baker said. "It's pretty clear they need a new operating plan."

Baker would not elaborate on the specific problems he has with the T, but promised to follow up with MBTA leadership once the snow is over.

"Once it stops snowing we plan to have a long conversation with the folks at the T about improving performance," Baker said.

Governor Baker also signed an emergency declaration on Monday to help hard hit areas in Massachusetts. He says equipment will be arriving from surrounding states to help assist with snow removal.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bernice Corpuz reports

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