Here’s how the MBTA plans to keep snow off Boston commuter rail this winter

November 5, 2015

The MBTA is bringing on nearly 50 pieces of new snow removal equipment to help keep the commuter rail running during the winter, according to officials who unveiled some of the equipment Wednesday.Website Insert State Supported Passenger Trains copy

Many of the heavy duty machines are equipped with plows or snowblowers. A model called a “snow fighter” features both.

The equipment represents fresh artillery for the commuter rail and its operator, Keolis Commuter Services, whose riders were beset by severe delays and cancellations during last winter’s record-setting snowfall.

In addition to their most obvious function—clearing snow—the machines will also relieve some of the burden on commuter rail passenger vehicles that donned plows last year, often to their detriment, MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola said.

“Last year, the bulk of snow removal … was done by affixing plows to our revenue vehicles,” he told reporters at a Cambridge rail yard. “That exposes those vehicles to the stress of snow plowing, and we had a number of locomotives break down. … Using these heavy pieces of equipment to do the bulk of the work will help protect those revenue cars from that stress.”

Commuter rail trains will still carry plows during service hours this year, but the larger equipment will take care of heavier snow removal duties in off-service and low-service hours, DePaola said.

He said the 10 new snow fighter machines will be the most useful piece of equipment. They are built to remove snow from the tracks and from the area surrounding the tracks.

Read the full story from reporter Adam Vaccaro at by clicking here.



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