Operator error ruled out as cause in Red Line derailment

BOSTON (WHDH) - MBTA officials have ruled out operator error in a Red Line derailment that left behind extensive damage earlier this month.

One car of a six-car train derailed for about 1,837 feet at JFK/UMass Station around 6 a.m. on June 4, damaging the track, signals, switches and bungalows, MBTA officials said in an update Monday.

Crews have since repaired the track, along with some switches and signals, but repairs are still being made to wires, power cables, bungalows and the rest of the signals.

Regular service resumed Sunday on the Red Line. Commuters are still experiencing delays as trains continue to operate at restricted speeds because switches have to be operated manually.

Along with operator error, MBTA officials ruled out foul play and infrastructure as causes for the derailment.

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak says that the public transportation service “regrets that the derailment occurred.”

“We believe it is unacceptable and we are taking every step we have available to us, not only to mitigate the delays that our customers are currently facing, but obviously to address concerns regarding safety,” he continued.

Gov. Charlie Baker has stressed that the agency is making long-term improvements, which will be funded in part by a fare increase set to come next month.

Mayor Martin Walsh argued on Twitter that, “There should be no fare increase until the Red Line is fixed. The @MBTA must act with urgency and it’s unfair to ask riders to pay more until the Red Line is fully operational.”

A third-party service is now reviewing all in-service, mainline derailments from 2017 to 2019.


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