MBTA suspending Red Line service for about 3 hours to repair derailment damage

BOSTON (WHDH) - The MBTA is suspending Red Line service for about three hours Wednesday morning as crews work to repair damage caused by a derailment, an MBTA spokesperson said.

The third car of a Red Line train went off the tracks at an above-ground stop near the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts and the John F. Kennedy presidential library around 6 a.m. Tuesday.

About 60 passengers were evacuated from the derailed car, authorities said.

One person was treated at the scene for a hand injury and a second person, who initially left the scene, returned later complaining of neck problems and asked to be taken to a hospital, according to Steve Poftak, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).

The 39-year-old operator has since been taken out of service pending the outcome of the investigation.

MBTA crews used chainsaws and a crane to upright and move the derailed train overnight. Workers remained on the scene throughout the morning, fixing the tracks and multiple damaged signal bungalows, which houses the hardware that controls the signal system.

Red Line trains traveled slower during the morning commute so the bungalows could be rebuilt and new signals and cables could be installed.

Beginning at 11 a.m., the MBTA suspended Red Line service between North Quincy and JFK/UMass stations for about three hours, an MBTA spokesperson said. Replacement shuttle buses will be implemented.

Service is expected to resume prior to the start of the late afternoon commute.

CharlieCards and CharlieTickets will also be accepted on the Middleborough/Lakeville, Kingston/Plymouth, Greenbush and Fairmount Commuter Rail lines, as well as the Fitchburg Line from Porter Square to North Station.

The Red Line derailment came days after a crowded Green Line trolley derailed below ground near Kenmore Square, sending 10 people to hospitals and requiring police and firefighters to guide passengers to safety through a darkened tunnel.

Poftak stressed there was no connection between Tuesday’s derailment and the one on Saturday. The earlier incident has been preliminarily blamed on that train’s operator, who has since been suspended.

But Poftak said he wanted a “fresh set of eyes” to examine the incidents.

“I think we have an obligation to the riding public and taxpayers to make sure we are taking every step possible to address these issues,” he said, in announcing plans for the third-party review.

There have reportedly been four derailments so far this year.

The recent derailments added to frustration felt by riders and local officials over the aging transit system — better known as the “T” — plagued by frequent mechanical breakdowns and delays, even as users braced for an average 6 percent fare hike that takes effect July 1.

“This week’s @MBTA derailments are unacceptable,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, on Twitter. “We need answers, solutions & more funding, and we need it now.”

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has pointed to a five-year, $8.5 billion capital investment plan that he says will gradually improve MBTA service and reliability. But many advocates and lawmakers are pushing for tax increases to provide more resources for public transportation.

 

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