MBTA: Operator error to blame for Mattapan trolley collision

BOSTON (WHDH) – Sixteen passengers were taken to the hospital Friday afternoon after two MBTA trolleys collided near the Cedar Grove station in Dorchester.

An MBTA spokesperson said the two trolleys made contact on the inbound track between Cedar Grove and Butler on the Mattapan Line.

The MBTA says preliminary investigation suggests that the collision appears to be due to operator error. An MBTA spokesperson released the following statement:

“Preliminarily, the collision that occurred appears to be due to operator error. In accordance with standard procedures, the operator will remain out of service as the investigation proceeds. The MBTA is currently assessing required repairs to the two trolleys involved in the collision. Due to the limited number of unique similar vehicles, until repairs are finalized, the Mattapan Line will run with four trolleys, rather than the normal set of five. Customers should expect to wait during rush hour approximately 6 ½ minutes between trolleys rather than 5 minutes. The MBTA appreciates the patience of our customers as we work to restore regular service to the Mattapan line.”

One witness said a trolley struck the lead trolley from behind, shattering glass and leaving several passengers injured.

“All we felt was a big boom and then my whole body jerked and I fell to the ground,” said Antonio Rodriguez.

Officials said 17 patients were evaluated and 16 were taken to the hospital. None of the injuries are considered life-threatening.

The most serious injury was a gash to the head according to officials.

MBTA Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan said Friday that detectives were interviewing the operators of both trolleys. Sullivan said mechanical error and the age of the trolleys are not likely factors in the crash. Drugs and alcohol are also not suspected.

If police find no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the investigation will be turned over to the MBTA to determine if the operators should be disciplined.

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