Two weeks after showing off a fleet of new plows and blowers to keep the commuter rail open this winter, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday unveiled some of the gear they've bought to keep the Red, Orange, Blue, and Green Lines going as well: Powerful rail-riding snowblowers, new third-rail deicing systems, and a refurbished "snowzilla" snow jet.
“Basically, everything you're looking at here was not available last year,’’ Baker said after being given a tour of the equipment at the T’s emergency training facility inside a disused subway tunnel in South Boston. “I mean, part of me just kind of says: Shame on us. This is New England. We get snow."
Now, Baker said, "I believe we are far better prepared for this winter than we were for last winter."
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Riders we interviewed outside the Harvard Square Red Line and bus station said they hope the governor's right -- but many fear he's not.
“I hope the trains run,’’ said Jennifer Lawrence of Cambridge. “I hope they run on all the tracks, outside and underground, because it really makes a difference to all of us who commute to work.’’
But, said Kristen Halbert of Boston, "I'd say I'm pretty worried at this point. I live in Roslindale, so I'm at the end of the Orange Line."
Lance Jones of Watertown said, "I travel on the trains every day, and there's a lot of problems. You know, constantly … I hope it gets better, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be all that much better. We just need new trains.’’
“It was pretty devastating when the T wasn’t working,’’ said Denise Patnod of Watertown. “I'm hopeful that 2016 will be a better year."
Baker said he is satisfied that "we're going to be playing a much different hand than we were playing last year and as a result of that I feel pretty good going in no matter what the weather ends up sending our way."
But, even with $85 million in new equipment, Baker's hedging his bets: "Mother Nature may have other plans. We'll have to wait and see how that plays out."
With videographer Justin Mintzes