Thursday, December 10, 2015

Investigation Into Tampering Underway After Red Line MBTA Train Departs Without Operator


Authorities are investigating whether someone tampered with safety equipment on a Red Line train in Massachusetts, causing the Boston-bound train to depart Thursday morning without an operator and with passengers on board.

Gov. Charlie Baker said in a press conference Thursday some of the train's safety controls appear to have been manipulated.

"It's pretty clear the main control that drives the train was tampered with," Baker said. "I think the big issue on this is whether it was a negligence issue or something else."

The MBTA released a statement saying the incident happened shortly after 6 a.m., when the train departed Braintree Station. The train made no stops and continued past North Quincy Station, when workers were able to cut power to the third rail, bringing the train to a stop.

Baker said in the press conference the third rail was cut off a couple minutes after the train left, but the momentum of the train caused it to coast through several stations before it ground to a halt.

The stations highlighted in yellow were affected during the Red Line incident Thursday morning.

Passengers were asked to get off the train, which was then taken out of service and examined. Massachusetts Department of Transportation officials said the train operator suffered non-life threatening injuries. It's unclear how the person was hurt, but Baker said the operator got out of the train to check on the signal.

"Passenger safety is the highest priority for the MBTA and this highly troubling incident is under investigation by Transit Police detectives," MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola said in a statement Thursday.

Meanwhile, FBI officials in Boston said they're aware of the incident and are letting MBTA Transit Police investigate "at this moment." Baker said MassDOT and public saftety officials are also investigating.

In a statement, Baker said he's "grateful no passengers were injured in this troubling incident and will be monitoring the investigation closely."
He said the incident appears to be isolated.

According to the MBTA, the Red Line accommodates more than 250,000 riders every day during the week.

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