With another in a succession of snow storms bearing down on the state, the struggling MBTA public transit system announced Friday that it was canceling all service on Sunday to ensure the safety of both customers and employees.
“The projected heavy snow and high winds will significantly inhibit the MBTA’s ability to deliver safe and reliable service,” the transit agency said in a statement.
The agency said trees and power lines could come down, and visibility would be hampered. It also said that officials were concerned a train could break down between stations, forcing passengers to be evacuated, putting riders, employees, and public safety workers at risk.
The agency said it would evaluate how its recovery efforts were going before deciding whether to reopen its subway, trolley, commuter rail, bus, and ferry services on Monday.
The MBTA’s decision came as weather forecasters issued blizzard warnings for Eastern Massachusetts, saying the area could see up to 14 inches of snow whipped by winds blowing up to 75 miles per hour. The MBTA was still having a difficult time returning to normal after a series of other storms in recent weeks.
The agency had earlier said it was suspending its late-night service Saturday and pondering its next move.
The announcement came amidst a series of cancellations on commuter rail for the afternoon and evening commute Friday. Trains on the Fitchburg/South Acton, Haverhill, Lowell, and Newbury/Rockport lines were canceled due to a shortage of trains, said Mac Daniel, a spokesman for Keolis Commuter Services, which operates commuter service for the T.
He said snow and cold were having an impact on train equipment. “There are a myriad of different issues, all influenced by the cold,” Daniel said.
Shuttle buses will replace several trains on the Fairmount Line.
All 12 commuter rail lines were experiencing delays ranging from 20 to 40 minutes, the MBTA said.
On the subway lines, the MBTA said it had good news to report: full restoration of service on the Orange Line and more progress toward full restoration on the Red Line.
On the Red Line, service has been restored between JFK/UMass and North Quincy stations on the Braintree branch, said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.
Shuttle buses will continue to operate between the North Quincy and Braintree stations. MBTA buses will be supplemented by 30 Peter Pan buses for the Friday evening commute, Pesaturo said. Passengers will continue to be shuttled between those stations through at least Sunday.
Orange Line service has been restored between Oak Grove and Wellington stations after service was limited to a one-track shuttle for days.
But on the Green Line, the D branch was experiencing moderate westbound delays due to a disabled train, the MBTA said at 3:24 p.m.
E branch service was suspended between Brigham Circle and Heath Street due to street-level traffic. Passengers were asked to use the Route 39 bus instead.
All bus routes were also experiencing moderate delays due to weather-related issues.
The commuter frustrations came as Bostonians braced for another blizzard that is expected to dump snow on streets and tracks that have already been pounded by 79.5 inches this winter season.
On Saturday, the last subway trains will depart downtown Boston no later than 12:50 a.m. Sunday, the MBTA said, allowing the MBTA to start working on snow-clearing and other maintenance activity, rather than having to wait until 3:30 a.m., the normal end of late-night service.
The transit agency suffered many delays and cancellations Friday morning, particularly on the commuter rail.
Bitterly cold temperatures led to at least 10 cancellations on the commuter rail, Daniel said.
The T also experienced moderate delays due to disabled trains on the Green Line B branch and the Red Line.