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As MBTA Investigates Runaway Red Line Train, 2 Workers Recognized For Stopping It

The two workers are being awarded for their actions to shut down an MBTA Red Line train running on the tracks without an operator, in what the state transportation secretary called "an unacceptable breach of our responsibility to keep riders safe." (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The two workers are being awarded for their actions to shut down an MBTA Red Line train running on the tracks without an operator, in what the state transportation secretary called "an unacceptable breach of our responsibility to keep riders safe." (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
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As MBTA officials on Monday review the errors that led to last week's runaway Red Line train and one T employee faces disciplinary action, two others credited with helping to halt the train received awards.

MBTA leadership will hold a closed-door, "fact-finding" hearing Monday to determine how a train carrying roughly 50 commuters left Braintree Station Thursday morning without an operator. As we previously reported, the train cruised for some nine minutes, coasting through four stations, before it was stopped a bit past North Quincy Station.

But on Monday morning at the State House, Gov. Charlie Baker, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack and MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola honored T workers Mark McNeill and Ainsley Saunders with a "governor's citation" for their work to safely stop the train.

The two, who work in the MBTA's operations center, moved other trains out of the way and shut off power to get the operator-less train to stop.

Pollack commended the two employees for their presence of mind, their calm and their quick thinking.

"It's important to remember that every day, most of the people who work for the T are actually working really hard, doing a great job [and] providing reliable public transportation for over a million riders a day," she said.

The transit agency said the focus of the investigation centers on multiple safety errors that were made by the train's operator. The operator has not been named and was placed on administrative leave on Thursday.

With reporting by WBUR's Fred Thys

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