BOSTON (AP) — Nearly 8 feet of snowfall this winter has paralyzed greater Boston's transit system, infuriating commuters on and off the rails who may not see a return to normal for at least a month.
Commuter, subway and Amtrak trains were delayed or canceled outright again on Tuesday. Highways were jammed with extra cars as workers tried to avoid continued problems on the nation's oldest transit system.
Many commuters said the ride into work — whether by train, subway, car or bus — tested nerves with exasperatingly long waits, stinging cold and, yes, another light coating of new snow.
"It's been a terrible day," said Brad Wachholz, following a two-and-a-half hour ride on a jam-packed commuter train from Southborough, a town about 20 miles west of Boston, to downtown's South Station. "It makes no sense. I thought after the weekend and the holiday, they would have been able to make some progress."
Steve Graham said he drove from his home in Windham, New Hampshire, at 6 a.m. in the hopes of beating some highway traffic into downtown Boston. He was wrong.
"It was worse than I expected," Graham said of the 40-mile drive that took about two hours. "The whole way, it was just heavy volume. It's crazy. It's Massachusetts school vacation week. People are supposed to be gone."
And there's no end in sight to the commuting woes. Transit officials warn the system won't run normally for at least a month — longer if the region is hit with more significant snowfall.
Most areas of southern New England saw light snow Tuesday and could see more of the same Wednesday and Thursday. Forecasters are also eying another storm this weekend, though it's still too early to say how much that might bring.
Tuesday's commuting woes come after an unprecedented succession of heavy snows and frigid temperatures crippled the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, freezing track switches, covering above-ground rails and damaging train equipment.
The MBTA, which operates the fifth busiest system in the nation, has been forced to shut down subway and commuter rail service three days over the past three weeks. The authority's general manager announced she would resign in April, following a firestorm of criticism.
New Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, among those critics, said Tuesday that he hopes the independent agency can get the regional transit system back on track sooner than a month.
He has sent National Guard troops and prison inmates on work release programs to help free rail tracks from ice and snow. Greyhound, Peter Pan and other private bus companies have also been enlisted to shuttle subway passengers to and from stations most affected by the snows.
To be sure, not all Boston commuters had horror stories Tuesday.
Some riders on the troubled Red Line subway reported minimal delays coming into downtown from neighboring Cambridge and Somerville. Seasoned bus riders said wait times were no worse than they expected, though they still complained of standing in roadways because snow was piled dangerously high near bus stops.
Other riders sympathized with transit workers struggling to get the system back on track.
"Mother Nature, that's who I blame," said Marty Sinnott, a Cape Cod resident whose five-hour ordeal to get to work in Boston's federal courthouse Tuesday included one commuter train that got stuck in the snow. "You have to bear with it and wait for the weather to break ... They are doing all they can."
And Craig Deold, of South Boston, rattled off a litany of challenges the state must eventually face, from the MBTA's fiscal management to investing in sorely-needed transit infrastructure upgrades.
"It's awful," he said. "But the state of the system is really because of the sins of the past."
AP reporters Denise Lavoie, Bob Salsberg and Steve LeBlanc in Boston contributed to this report.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.