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After Derailment, Commuter Rail Crews Given 'Special Instruction'

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The MBTA and Keolis will expand training programs for commuter rail personnel after an initial investigation determined that human error in switch usage caused a derailment on the Worcester Line last week.

All train crews were given "special instruction" on the rules governing manual switches following the incident, the MBTA announced Sunday evening. The agency and Keolis, which is contracted to operate the commuter rail, will also enhance the training that conductors and engineers undergo, including use of a locomotive simulator installed last year.

A joint investigation launched alongside the Federal Railroad Administration determined that the train crew "allowed the incident train to pass through a switch that was not properly aligned," leading to the Thursday derailment, according to a T press release. About 200 passengers were on the train, but none were in the car that derailed and no injuries were reported.

The investigation found no maintenance or infrastructure issues affiliated with the train set or the stretch of track involved. Inspections are underway on similar areas of the commuter rail network.

Crews made "substantial progress" over the weekend toward repairing sections of the track damaged by the derailment, allowing regular service to operate Monday morning. However, with winter storm conditions expected in much of the state, T officials cautioned that riders should check online for alerts about possible delays.

"Our crews will continue to complete repairs, and we will keep working with Keolis and the FRA to implement reforms in response to this derailment to safely and promptly restore reliable service for our loyal riders," MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in the press release.

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