Cold spell testing MBTA

File Photo

WINTER 2015: A train on the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail line pulls into Beverly Depot after the MBTA service slowly began after the heavy snowfall in February 2015.

BOSTON — As a result of the historic tidal surge that damaged track circuits in Saugus on the Newburyport and Rockport lines, the MBTA commuter rail will operate a modified schedule on the Newburyport and Rockport lines through Friday.

The modified schedule is needed because trains on the route are subject to delay due to damage to the signaling system. By slightly reducing service the rail operator can prevent those delays from compounding on the line and reduce the overall impact on passengers.

Keolis and MBTA teams are working to fix affecting signals on the section of track since the surge impacted the system. However, salt water, which has frozen into the track bed, contaminated a significant and expanding portion of the system beginning on Jan. 4.

Track circuits rely on low voltage electrical current running through the rails to operate. If the current is disrupted, signals are designed to turn red.

"The salt water is acting as an alternative path for that current to go to ground and is therefore disrupting the signaling system, causing signals to remain at red in certain parts of the line. More than half a mile of track is affected, and removing the contaminated solution is proving extremely difficult," Keolis Commuter Services Director of Public Affairs Tory Mazzola said.

Crews are actively working day and night to rectify the situation, Mazzola added.

In selecting the trains to cancel or amend, operators considered alternative arrangements for passengers and tried to minimize inconvenience as much as possible.

Passengers should check schedules at MBTA.com, on Twitter at @MBTA_CR and through T-Alerts.

Canceled trains and passenger alternatives

Morning inbound

152 (5:50 a.m. Newburyport to North Station). Alternative is train 154, 6:25 a.m. departure.

160 (7:55 a.m. Newburyport to North Station) will make additional stops, holding at Beverly to assume 192's schedule, 8:33 a.m. departure from Beverly.

Morning outbound

153 (6:26 a.m, North Station to Newburyport). Alternative is train 155, 7:37 a.m. departure which will make an additional stop at Riverworks.

191 (7:08 a.m. North Station to Salem). Alternative is train 155, 7:37 a.m. departure which will make an additional stop at Riverworks.

Evening outbound

113 (3:35 p.m. North Station to Rockport). Alternative is train 115, 4:15 p.m. departure

193 (4:40 p.m. North Station to Beverly). Alternative is train 117, 5:00 p.m. departure which will make additional stops to fully cover 193’s schedule

171 (5:40 p.m. North Station to Newburyport). Alternative is train 173, 6:05 p.m. departure

Evening inbound

120 (5:08 p.m. Rockport to North Station). Alternative train is 122, 5:45 p.m. departure

194 (5:35 p.m. Beverly to North Station). Alternative train is 174, 6:20 p.m. departure

176 (7:08 p.m. Newburyport to North Station). Alternative train is 178, 8:10 p.m. departure

Recommended for you