Muddy River flooding: Double dam

The MBTA provides this photo of the temporary dams now in place at the Fenway portal where the Riverside line goes underground. The T had been running Riverside service this morning after the Muddy River receded below flood stage, but it's back above it again and there's no service between Fenway and Kenmore.



Free tagging: 


Riverside line pretty much shut completely now

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The T reports it's now busing passengers between Riverside and Reservoir, not because of the Muddy River but because of a large sinkhole under the tracks between Chestnut Hill and Newton Center.

Buses between Kenmore and

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Buses between Kenmore and Fenway (what, 4 blocks?) AND Reservoir to Riverside. So they are running trains from Fenway to Reservoir, sounds kind of ridiculous.

Pahk as well

As the doors opened on my Northbound train, I could see it was literally raining on the Southbound platform. So much for waterproofing...

Some wag left the comment

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Some wag left the comment "What's a cubit?" on one of the Globe articles today. Lost my coffee.

Subtle plug for UH

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Working the Citgo sign into the background.



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Yeah, thanks to my peeps at the T for that :-).

Typical for the T

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The tunnel had flood doors when it was built. They were well aware that the area floods; it had been marshland until being filled. Last time, the T left the flood doors open, put down no sandbags and then got a ... bailout from your tax dollars. This time they resorted to manually laying down sandbags rather than refurbishing the original flood controls, which could be opened or closed in minutes rather than hours.

What we really need is a flood to wash away the T management and unions.


Sorry, but I don't believe that the Fenway portal

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ever had true flood doors. What the Fenway portal (and others on the Green Line) had were moveable wood beams that, when put in place, acted as a low level dam. These 'dams' do not completely block the portals.

Tunnel flood doors are full size thick doors that, when closed, completely block the portal. The London Underground lines that go under the Thames River have them at the stations on each side of the river. The idea is that, if the tunnel under the river is breached, the doors can be closed, preventing a spread of water to the rest of the system.

But, of course, the MBTA would rather stick with yet another labor intensive system (in this case, manually placing and removing sandbags) than put in something that could be activated and de-activated on a moment's notice.

What's interesting ...

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I was wrong: There are boards there. See the note further down.

Is that the T tried sandbags in 1996 when workers couldn't find the boards that were supposed to be fitted into the slots on the posts there and that they didn't work any better than the sandbags they (or the MTA) used in 1962 at the same location. This paper talks about the boards and sandbags (there's apparently an entire book about the 1996 flooding, but it's out of print).

roadman, I'm not sure we need a 'dam' at a moment's notice

But, of course, the MBTA would rather stick with yet another labor intensive system (in this case, manually placing and removing sandbags) than put in something that could be activated and de-activated on a moment's notice

Why the need for activation on a moment's notice? It's not as though the imminent flooding is a surprise judging from this NOAA graph.

Besides, I'm not sure making a capital investment for something that was needed at 37-and 9-year intervals makes a lot of sense.

I'm as eager to kick the MBTA when it's down as any foamer on this board, but I think sandbags are the right technology for the MBTA. After all, nine years ago, even wooden boards were beyond them.

Jonas Prang

Muddy River flooding

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Look carefully at the photo with the sandbags. There ARE boards there, behind the sandbags. The sandbags are there to anchor the boards in place. There are actually two sets of boards (and sandbags), they look to be about 75 feet apart. Reports on local TV stations indicate that the T now has a policy of putting the barriers in place whenever the Muddy River reaches the 15-foot level. This is below where the actual flooding will occur, and gives the T time to erect the barrier before water can enter the tunnel. When the water level went below 15 feet this morning, they removed the barrier and resumed service; when water went back up, the barrier was put back.

The so-called "book" about the 1996 flooding is actually an article in the November/December 1996 issue of the magazine "Roll Sign", published by the Boston Street Railway Association. We still have copies available for sale. There is an order form at our website []. Under the tab "Roll Sign magazine" you'll see a link to "Order Back Issues"; on that page there is a link to a PDF order form you can download. The 8-page article includes a map and photos from 1996 and 1962.

In 1996 we had 7.92" of rain at Logan Airport, spread over 6 days. For this storm to date we've had 6.98" over 3 days.

Deja vu all over again

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Rereading the 1996 Roll Sign article about the flooding then, I see that the October 1996 storm also caused a washout on "the Riverside line near Glen Avenue, about 1/2 mile east of Newton Centre station." And puddles on the floor at Davis station. And flooding of the roads leading to Alewife station.

Not much ever changes, does it?

Valid points. However, as a previous poster noted, the level

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of the Muddy River often rises and falls several times during a long range storm event like we just had. Flood doors would give the MBTA far more flexibility in suspending and resuming service in short order than manually placing and removing sandbags do. Unless you'd rather have an extended service disruption because somebody decides "well, the water level has dropped, but let's leave the sandbags in place, as the storm's not over yet and there's another tidal cycle in 12 hours).

And it's noteable that we've had two "37 year" events within the past four years (the Mother's Day storm of 2006 and the "AquaGeddon" of 2010).