Riders Frustrated After Derailed Train Causes Severe Delays On MBTA's Red Line

It was an unusually beautiful February day in the Boston area, with temperatures hitting a rare (perhaps frightening) 70 degrees.

But, while typical winter weather doesn't appear to be the culprit this time, the MBTA once again apologized after experiencing major issues for several hours Wednesday.

Passengers contended with severe delays due to a partial closure of the T's Red Line from early Wednesday until the middle of the evening rush-hour. Many expressed fury and frustration as the MBTA attempted to get service back up and running.

The delays began around 9:20 a.m. when a six-car train heading north toward Andrew Station "experienced an issue that led to the derailment of the last car," Joe Pesaturo, the agency's spokesman, said in a statement. The derailed car was able to get back on track before entering the station, and riders were able to exit the train safely.

An early evaluation of the tracks showed that roughly 300 feet of the third rail was damaged, the statement said.

Around 5:30 p.m. Pesaturo announced in a statement that train service had resumed between Broadway, Andrew and JFK/UMass stations.

"The MBTA apologizes for today's disruption and thanks its customers for their patience," he said in the statement.

The MBTA ran shuttle buses in both directions between the line's Broadway and JFK/UMass stops. In addition to those stops, the shuttle buses picked up and dropped off customers at Andrew Station.

Some passengers scoffed at what they said were either unclear or nonexistent accommodations. Some said buses did not show up as expected, while others said they were confused about where they should queue to wait for the shuttles.

WBUR's Steve Brown spoke earlier with Katie Drury outside Broadway Station in South Boston.

"This has been going on all day, and there's no bus," Drury said, laughing slightly in exasperation. "Why the Red Line cannot do anything ... I mean, it's a beautiful day. So, I don't--, they don't function in the sun, they don't function in rain, they don't function in the snow, the wind, the hail or anything. The Red Line is beyond broken."

From Broadway Station at around 4 p.m., Brown reported that:

While people are frustrated, they're all very well-behaved. They're thankful today is a nice day — it's a nice day to be outside. If this had happened tomorrow, [with] some cold weather and snow in the forecast, it would be a totally different scene here, I'm sure.

After the shuttle service ended, some station platforms along the Red Line were flooded by crowds of commuters.

As repairs were made, the T warned riders about crowding and delays, encouraging commuters to take other forms of transportation, including the Middleborough/Lakeville, Kingston/Plymouth and Greenbush MBTA commuter rail trains. Those trains made additional stops at the JFK/UMass, Quincy Center and Braintree stations, MBTA officials said.

The T provided attendants at affected stations to help guide riders while the agency worked to fix the tracks. But, as Brown reported, the number of assistants at times appeared insufficient against a swarm of frustrated riders.

Keolis officials also said its employees were made available at South Station to direct passengers.

This article was originally published on February 21, 2018.


Lisa Creamer Managing Editor, Digital
Lisa Creamer is WBUR's managing editor for digital news.



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