jet powered snowblower
Photograph: John Tlumacki/Boston Globe

The MBTA uses a Korean War-era jet engine mounted on a train to keep a short section of the Mattapan line clear of snow.

Snowzilla, one of the more unusual pieces of equipment in the MBTA’s toolshed, has a singular task — clearing the Mattapan High Speed Line during heavy snowstorms. But it is essential for the 4,500 riders a day who rely on that line’s 10 lovingly restored, 1940s-vintage streetcars.

The Mattapan line carries just one-third of one percent of the MBTA’s 1.3 million daily riders, but the T is determined to serve the urban neighborhoods along the Mattapan line, whose trolleys also function as connectors to the Red Line and several high-ridership bus routes.

Now, if we could mount one of Mayor Curley’s flamethrowers, it could be quite festive.

Chris Connors

Making things is the best way to learn about our world.


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