MassDot boss: Runaway Red Line train ‘unacceptable breach of responsibility’

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A Driverless Train Carrying 50 People Blew Through 4 Stops After Being Tampered With.

Pollack said the operator was initially unable to start the train at Braintree Station and received clearance to put the train into bypass mode. 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.A runaway Boston train that traveled through four stations Thursday without an operator at the helm was likely the result of “operator error,” officials said. About 50 passengers were aboard the driverless train when it left Braintree Station at about 6 a.m., traveling past North Quincy Station until transit officials de-powered the third rail and brought it to a halt.

No one was injured aboard the Red Line train that left the Braintree Station in the suburbs south of Boston just after 6 a.m., Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials said. The MBTA, along with Transit Police, the Department of Public Utilities, and the Federal Transit Administration, are continuing to investigate the incident and the operator has been placed on administrative leave. The 51-year-old operator, who has some 25 years experience, got off the train to put it in “bypass mode.” But the man likely didn’t properly secure the train’s braking system, Stephanie Pollack, the state’s transportation secretary, said. While no one aboard the train was injured, Pollack referred to the incident as “an unacceptable breech of our responsibility to keep our riders safe” during a press conference Thursday afternoon. 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,” Baker said during an interview on Boston Herald Radio.

Bypass mode allows a train to depart from a station without receiving the usual signal, and requires the driver to toggle a switch on the outside of the train. “Trains are put into emergency bypass mode only when there is a signal problem,” Pollack said. “It is a procedure that is used regularly, and it is a procedure that is used safely if proper procedures are followed.” MBTA officials cleared other trains along the track before shutting off the power, stopping the runaway train between North Quincy and JFK/UMass stations. Charlie Baker said in an interview that the dangerous runaway train was an “isolated incident.” “Passenger safety is the highest priority for the MBTA and this highly troubling incident is under investigation by Transit Police detectives,” DePaola said. Passenger Fernanda Daly told WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano that when the lights went out on the train, riders knocked on the booth but found no conductor inside. “The whole train started going slow, the lights went off and everything just stopped down between Quincy and JFK and we stayed there for about 30 minutes,” the female passenger said.

Before doing so, they had to quickly clear other trains from the tracks to prevent a collision. “The people who were on the first car were trying to knock on the door of the conductor and that’s when we discovered that there was nobody there,” said Daly.

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