Boston commuter train covers five miles without operator

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Boston train takes passengers through several stations without operator, officials say it was ‘tampered with’.

BOSTON (AP) — The latest on the train that left a station outside Boston and traveled through several other stations without a driver (all times local): A Massachusetts transportation official says “operator error” is the focus of an investigation into what caused a six-car passenger train to leave a suburban Boston station without a driver. BOSTON (CBS) — At a press conference given hours after an incident in which a Red Line train left Braintree Station without an operator on board, MBTA officials said their investigation into the runaway train was now primarily focused on operator error.

None of the approximately 50 passengers was hurt, but the operator suffered a minor injury when he was brushed by the train, apparently as it began to move, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said. The train traveled for about nine minutes — and through four stations — before MBTA personnel were able to stop it by cutting power to the electrified third rail. Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack said Thursday that before the train left the Braintree station, the operator got off the train to execute a procedure that allows it to travel if there is a signal problem.

Pollack said a full-service break and hand break are required to be engaged before a train goes into bypass mode, and that it was unclear if both had been engaged before the operator left the train. No passengers were hurt, but a 51-year-old train operator suffered minor injuries after being brushed by a train at Braintree, according to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.

The driver has been with the MBTA for more than 28 years, he said. “Something happened that should not have been able to happen, [and] we put our passengers in danger,” Pollack said, describing that the incident as unacceptable and pledging to make changes that would prevent a recurrence. An initial investigation indicated that a safety device within the train’s cab may have been tampered with. “This train was tampered with, and it was tampered with by somebody who knew what they were doing,” Mr. The FBI is also “aware of the incident,” according to spokeswoman Kristen Setera. “We have been in contact with MBTA Transit Police,” she added in a statement. The train was taken out of service and examined. “Passenger safety is the highest priority for the MBTA and this highly troubling incident is under investigation by Transit Police detectives,” said MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola in a release.

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