‘An absolute joke': Riders express frustration after equipment derailment on Red Line causes delays

The derailment damaged the third rail, but it has since been repaired

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The derailment of a piece of track maintenance equipment on the Red Line caused major delays Tuesday morning and damaged the third rail, according to the MBTA.

Around 4:45 a.m., the T said a piece of maintenance equipment derailed on the northbound Red Line track at Park Station. No injuries were reported, but the derailment resulted in serious delays during Tuesday morning's commute.



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The MBTA said the derailment also caused some damage to the third rail that required repair work by the MBTA Power Department. Red Line service will be free between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“We apologize to our riders affected by this morning’s incident involving a piece of track maintenance equipment. Understanding the impact of this issue, the Red Line will be free this afternoon and through the peak evening commute,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng in a statement. “While this does not make up for your experiences this morning, we’re committed to continuously improving everything we do. This is our duty because we care about the public that we serve."

Shuttle buses replaced Red Line service between Harvard and Broadway stations while the repairs were made, and commuters heading downtown were told to use Commuter Rail service from JFK/UMass to South Station and from Porter Station to North Station.

Around 9:55 a.m., the T said the repairs had been completed and power is being restored. About 20 minutes later, the transportation agency said shuttle buses were being phased out and normal service had resumed between Harvard and Broadway.

'The MBTA is an absolute joke': Riders express their frustration

T riders took to social media on Tuesday morning to express their frustration with the delays. Photos shared on social media showed huge crowds of people waiting in the heat for shuttle buses.

"The MBTA is an absolute joke," one person said, saying they were left at Broadway Station for 30 minutes in the sweltering heat. "Clearly our elected leaders are completely out of touch with their constituents when it comes to mass transit."

"Another day on the Red Line," another commuter said. "Would absolutely be faster to walk to Boston if it weren't 90."

The cause of the derailment remains under investigation, the T said. The incident occurred while crews were moving materials and equipment in preparation for the upcoming 16-day track improvement project between Kendall and Alewife stations. That project is scheduled to begin this weekend.

Per standard protocol, the MBTA said the state Department of Public Utilities and the Federal Transit Administration were notified of Tuesday's incident.

Tuesday's morning's incident on the Red Line came as MBTA General Manager Philip Eng, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and other officials were in Worcester to trumpet the opening of the new Worcester Union Station.

"The optics and timing couldn't be worse for a photo op," one commuter said on X in response to the event. "The @MBTA fails its riders. Just drive, bike, walk, or Uber."

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