MBTA Moving to Fire Driver in Green Line Crash That Injured More Than 20 in Boston

"A preliminary review of striking train’s event recorder data revealed that the operat​​​or of the striking train placed the master controller in a full-power position prior to the accident," the NTSB said in a report released Tuesday

NBC Universal, Inc.

The MBTA is taking steps to fire a driver involved in the Green Line trolley crash that injured more than 20 people in Boston this August, the agency said Tuesday.

The news was announced after the National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary report on the crash. One of its key takeaways is that the driver put the trolley in "full-power position" prior to the accident.

"The striking train accelerated to a speed of 31 mph before colliding with the train ahead of it that was moving about 10 mph," the report's executive summary said. "A preliminary review of striking train’s event recorder data revealed that the operat​​​or of the striking train placed the master controller in a full-power position prior to the accident."

Read the report below:

The NTSB said its investigation is still ongoing. Future investigative activity will focus on internal and external oversight, operational testing, crashworthiness of the equipment involved and employee fitness of duty.

Later Tuesday, the MBTA released a statement saying it "is taking the steps necessary to end the employment of the individual involved in the collision."

The statement also noted that the agency quickly put the driver on leave, and that the MBTA and its police department "will continue to work with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office in its ongoing investigation into the trolley operator’s actions."

Officials said the operator, who had been on paid administrative leave, was suspended without pay effective Monday. The suspended driver has not been publicly identified.

The accident occurred around 6 p.m. on July 30, when two trains on the Green Line collided on Commonwealth Avenue, injuring 27 aboard, including four train operators.

The NTSB had said previously that the train was going triple the speed limit when it crashed into another train in Boston on July 30. The speed limit in the area is 10 mph.

An MBTA operator is on administrative leave after two trains collided on Friday, injuring more than 20 people.

Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday that he hadn't seen the NTSB's report yet, but he's glad that it's out.

"We'll take a look at the report and make adjustments accordingly," he said. "I'm really glad no one was seriously hurt in that accident."

Both trains were heading west out of the city when one rear-ended the other. The MBTA said 65 to 70 people were on board both trains.

Two trains on the Green Line of the MBTA collided Friday, injuring dozens of people.

The NTSB led the investigation into the crash. The federal agency examines transportation-related accidents and pipeline incidents such as the 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions, deployed four investigators with specialties in "operations, crashworthiness, and human performance" to the scene of the Green Line crash, a spokesperson said.

The NTSB's probe appears to be the agency's first into an MBTA incident in more than a decade. Records show the NTSB's last rail investigation in Massachusetts occurred in 2009, when a Green Line train collided with another train in an underground tunnel near Government Center, derailing both vehicles.

Officials had placed one of four operators on board the two Green Line trains on paid administrative leave. The employee, who has been with the MBTA for seven years, was operating the first car in the train that hit the other train from behind. No other operators have been put on leave, the MBTA said.

The Green Line is currently undergoing a $170 million project designed to "reduce the risk of train collisions by installing signal overrun protection, collision avoidance monitoring, and speed enforcing transponders," the MBTA said. It will be completed in 2024.

The NTSB recommended the Green Line Train Protection System after two high-profile accidents -- the one in 2009 and an earlier accident in 2008 where the driver was killed when she apparently fell asleep behind the controls.

Contact Us