Boston Herald photo
Video from WBZ-TV CBS4
Service on the Lowell line is now back to normal operation
Lowell (view route)
The MBTA is focusing on human error in the deadly crash yesterday on the Lowell Commuter Rail line in Woburn. The Herald is reporting the switch in question was THREE miles north of the accident scene. The question I have this morning is was there no way to alert MBCR officials that the train was on the wrong track for those three miles??? I have to believe there has to be another signal on the track given the distance.
from The Herald:
A mistake at a railroad dispatch center sent a speeding train loaded with passengers on a collision course with six unsuspecting track workers in Woburn yesterday, killing two before they had time to escape the barreling locomotive, officials said.
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police are investigating why dispatchers in Somerville allowed the Boston-bound commuter train to remain on a set of tracks where a manned maintenance truck had been stationed since just after rush hour, officials said.
The Herald gives this timeline of the accident
Trains heading to Boston are supposed to see a lighted “restricted” signal similar to a stop light, overseen by a radio dispatcher in Somerville. The dispatcher then diverts the train around the work crew on the inbound track and onto the parallel, unoccupied outbound track.
Four Boston bound trains successfully made the switch yesterday. At some point after the fourth train, however, the restriction was removed, giving the engineer of the fifth train the impression it was safe to proceed.
The Boston-bound train was coming from Lowell at 50 mph when it hit the six-person crew at about 1:35 p.m. just south near Montvale Avenue in Woburn.
The work crew had been granted right-of-way on the southbound tracks after rush hour, about 9:15 a.m., and was expected to remain there until 3 p.m.
The Globe is reporting:
BADTRANSIT.COM is asking a lot of hard questions this morning.
“Where was the flagman?”, one BadTransit who tipped us off to this disaster asks. Last we heard, MBCR had cut back severely on safety for work crews. One former AMTRAK maintenance leader told BadTransit (shortly after MBCR received their 5 year $1.2 Billion contract) that safety training was cut back and flagmen were no longer being dedicated to the task, but combining their safety duty with other work.