New Data Shows MBTA Leads Nation In Derailments

BOSTON (CBS) — Questions about safety on the T were raised Monday after a study showed the MBTA had the most derailments in the country in 2016.

Eight MBTA vehicles–including six Green Line trollies–derailed last year, according to data from the National Transit Database.

The Boston Globe reported that seven Green Line trains derailed in 2015, giving the MBTA the highest number of light rail derailments in the country for two years in a row.

According to the National Transit Database report, the MBTA had a total of 20 collisions on light rail lines in 2016, two reported fires, and four reported security issues.

Nobody was hurt in any of these incidents.

In a statement, MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo said the MBTA’s rapid transit system was “very safe.”

(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

One commuter told WBZ-TV’s Anna Meiler he wasn’t surprised by the report–but said he hoped there would be changes.

“I’m hoping that they’re continuing to make progress,” he said. “I mean, I think they’ve been making great progress and trying to make it better.”

The report also shows a few of the derailments involved out-of-service trains or maintenance vehicles, which operate during overnight hours.

In a statement, the MBTA said it wasn’t clear if other transit systems across the US report maintenance vehicle derailments.

They said the Green Line, which is the busiest light rail line in the country, had fewer derailments in 2016 than the previous year.

The MBTA said they are planning new initiatives to prevent derailment, and that they’ve already moved from a “re-active” to a “pro-active” policy in dealing with derailments.

“The MBTA last year implemented a comprehensive corrective action plan that focuses on three key areas:  the condition of the tracks, the speed at which motor persons operate trains, and the truck holding the wheels in the center of the low floor cars,” Pesaturo’s statement added.

At an afternoon meeting of the T’s Control Board, MBTA Chief Operating Officer Jeff Gonneville acknowledged the report and said the board is taking it very seriously.

He said one of the derailments was caused by construction equipment on the Red Line, and added that other derailments were minor.

Gonneville said the MBTA was developing software to keep tabs on track conditions.

The Control Board chairman told Gonneville the board was confident in the direction they were headed.

The full report can be found on the US Department of Transportation website.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

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