Derailment at Andrew Station snarls commute
300 feet of electrified third rail damaged; service restored at 5:21 p.m.
A NORTHBOUND RED LINE TRAIN derailed Wednesday morning at 9:20 a.m. as it approached Andrew Station, damaging about 300 feet of the electrified third rail and severely disrupting the morning commute for thousands of riders. Passengers were shaken up but not injured.
Service was restored at 5:21 p.m., but MBTA officials still weren’t sure what went wrong. In a statement prior to the reopening of the Red Line, MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez said: “While we realize this is a significant inconvenience to our customers, the Red Line will remain closed between Broadway and JFK until it is safe to resume service. Until then, our team continues to assess the damage, and make necessary repairs, while working to identify the root cause.”
A T statement issued during the afternoon said the train operator had reported an indication of a motor failure in the last car of the six-car train. Passengers said the train car seemed to hit a bump, windows shattered, and smoke filled the station.
The T statement said the car apparently derailed and then “re-railed itself” as it entered the station. The statement said the train was taken out of service but was able to exit the station under its own power.
Shortly after the accident, thousands of passengers began pouring into the JFK/UMass Station, jamming into the few shuttle buses that initially showed up. A commuter rail train stopped at the station on its way into downtown and passengers flocked on board, filling every seat and the aisles.
For the evening commute, T officials urged travelers to consider alternative transit modes, including using the Middlborough/Lakeville and Kingston/Plymouth commuter rail lines to get between South Station and JFK/UMass, Quincy Center, or Braintree Stations. Officials said trains on the Greenbush Line could also be used to reach JFK/UMass and Quincy Center.MBTA officials said Charlie Card tickets and passes would be accepted on the commuter rail trains at South Station, JFK/UMass, Quincy Center, and Braintree.
In addition to passengers grumbling about the T’s performance, one of the Democratic candidates for governor, Setti Warren, weighed in with an assessment that the accident was a sign that Gov. Charlie Baker’s efforts to improve the transit agency are failing. “His strategy of no new revenue and privatization is wrong,” he said. “Gov. Baker’s failure is causing declining ridership, forcing people into cars, and compounding the traffic gridlock spreading in all directions.”