BOSTON (WHDH) – Five instances of runaway trains have been detailed in a scathing report on the MBTA by federal investigators.
Video exclusively obtained by 7NEWS showed a number of frightening incidents on the T that are now under investigation, including a case of a Red Line train barreling through safety barriers at the Cabot Maintenance Yard.
Video from September 28, 2021, showed another Red Line train moving through Broadway Station when the train hit the platform. A piece of the train could be seen falling off as smoke filled the air. Passengers trapped onboard had to climb out through a window to get to safety.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is investigating the MBTA, is calling the incident at Broadway one of “five runaway train events” they are looking into, some of which left three people hurt.
“The FTA takes this very, very seriously,” said transportation safety expert Carl Berkowitz. “First of all, none of those incidents should have occurred.”
The MBTA said they take issue with calling all of the incidents “runaway trains.” They said the Broadway incident was a derailment and that afterwards, changes were made.
The FTA said two runaway train incidents happened in May of 2022.
The first, on May 28, involved a train in the Dorchester Yard rolling backwards, in the wrong direction.
An MBTA spokesman said that was not a runaway train incident either, since there was an operator onboard when the train started rolling back.
Two days later, in Braintree, several cars became loose and rolled backwards through the MBTA station there. No one was hurt and a supervisor is on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated.
At an event two weeks ago, the MBTA’s general manager, Steve Poftak, said safety is the MBTA’s priority.
“We are working hard to make the MBTA as safe as it can be and that has to be the priority,” Poftak said. “That is the priority, and that is going to require some patience as we work through these problems.”
7NEWS showed the incident video to Berkowitz, who said the federal investigation is forcing the MBTA to take action.
“To have a train go backwards, that’s a very, very dangerous situation, and the FTA was right to bring that to the attention of the MBTA,” Berkowitz said.
Following these incidents, the MBTA said it initiated new trainings and policies.
Federal investigators are expected to release the full report on their investigation in August.
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