Extreme Weather Travel Guide
Regardless of the season, it’s our top priority to ensure your safety when you ride the T. When extreme weather does hit, take a look at the guides below to help you stay safe and informed.
Plan Your Commute
Plan ahead by checking alerts on our website and Twitter.
What to Expect During a Tropical Storm
Flooding, heavy winds, and lightning are the main causes for delays and disruptions to MBTA service during major storms.
On rare occasions, the Governor may issue a state of emergency or travel ban, which can impact the level of MBTA service available. If this happens, we will update our website and Twitter with related service changes.
Impacts to Service
Flooding and downed tree limbs or wires can impact train service during storms.
- We may need to run trains at reduced schedules or slower speeds. This is safer for everyone and prevents damage to trains and equipment.
- On rare occasions, tunnels or stations may flood, and service may be suspended or replaced with shuttle buses.
- When storms approach, we take proactive measures at flood-prone areas like Aquarium and Fenway stations.
All delays and schedule changes are detailed in system alerts, available on our website, on Twitter, and via text or email.
Ferry service may be suspended or delayed in the event of an extreme storm.
If you usually take the ferry to downtown Boston, try one of these alternate routes:
Extreme storms may impact road conditions, and drivers may not be able to access some locations due to flooding or debris.
Before and during storms, you can call The RIDE Access Center (TRAC) for information about delays or cancellations for any trips you have scheduled.
We’re working to minimize service disruptions due to rising sea levels and stronger, more frequent major storms by identifying vulnerabilities and updating at-risk infrastructure.
What to Expect During Extreme Heat
On summer’s hottest days, we may operate trains at reduced speeds in some areas to compensate for heat-related stress on the tracks, which could result in slightly longer travel times.
We’ll also have crews stationed around the system to provide assistance.
- In addition to operating trains at reduced speeds if necessary, crews perform track inspections and make emergency repairs as needed.
- Air conditioning on vehicles is checked often and repaired as needed. On buses, riders can help keep things cool by closing open windows.
- Overhead wires that power some of our vehicles can expand and sag during extremely hot weather, so we make adjustments to prevent low-hanging wires.
What to Expect During Slippery Rail Conditions
When leaves fall on Commuter Rail tracks in the fall, they collect with debris, pick up moisture, and then are crushed by train wheels. This creates a condition called slippery rail, or a slick film of leaves on the tracks.
When this happens, trains are required to begin braking for stops sooner and take more time to pick up speed when departing a station, which can cause delays.
- Deploy specially designed MBTA train cars with rail pressure washers to clean tracks along wooded routes
- Apply gel and a sand solution to the rails for improved train traction
- Use drones to find areas where leaves and debris build up to stay ahead of problem areas