• Green Line Collision 7/30/21

  • Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.
Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: sery2831, CRail

  by CRail
MOD NOTE: This thread is not going to become a YouTube comment section. There is an active internal investigation ongoing, and Authority employees and management read and post to this site. Factual based discussion and respectful speculation is welcome and encouraged, negative commentary has been and will be removed.
  by BandA
"Ongoing investigation" is not sufficient reason to deny a FOIA request for factual information.
  by STrRedWolf
johnpbarlow wrote: Wed Aug 11, 2021 6:53 am
5 Investigates has learned that the operator in the Green Line crash had been terminated with pay in August 2017, and rehired in October 2017.
daybeers wrote:Bruhhh it's not that hard to not be stupid at management!
typesix wrote:Not always management, Carmen's union may have a hand in the rehiring.
Okay, I'm coming from a MTA Maryland perspective, so I don't know MBTA rules, regs, and their unions' collective bargaining agreements. All three are going to come into play here, though. It looks like the operator's gotten his drug test almost immediately, which is good.

First, any leak to the press from MBTA or MassDOT is going to impact an investigation. You know the NTSB is already investigating -- they pushed out the "30 in a 10" prelim report. The NTSB looks at all avenues, so his career record is going to be part of the investigation. Whatever safety department MBTA has will also be investigating. That means any FOIA request is going to be denied for the time being for a legitimate concern.

Second, I will not be surprised if the ability to operate the train (be an "operator" in MTA MD speak) is tied to one's driving license. MTA Maryland ties it -- and if you go over a certain number of points on your regular license, or you get it suspended (with one exception), you can't drive a bus or operate any train until it's cleared up. I had to work on that system during my time there. It sounds like MBTA ties it too... which means the NTSB is going to pull it as part of their investigation.

Third, a FOIA request is going to fail anyway due to Massachusetts law. MBTA is a state agency, and thus the records are considered "of a commonwealth employee"... which by law is exempt from FOIA requests.

That said... 27 injured... If anyone had died, I would bet even money the operator would be fired then and there. There is one regulation MTA Maryland has -- if the accident was preventable and no action was taken to prevent a death, the operator's fired.

IN SHORT: Wait until the NTSB and MBTA investigation completes. We'll get a 30-day update early next month.
  by BandA
From the NTSB (very) preliminary report:
The striking train accelerated to a speed of 31 mph before colliding with the train ahead of it that was moving about 10 mph. A preliminary review of striking train’s event recorder data revealed that the operator of the striking train placed the master controller in a full-power position prior to the accident.
  by BandA
What does a "controller" look like on a modern green line car? Is it a pedal? A rheostat from 1901? What is the deadman switch like?

Only plausible explanation was he always sets acceleration to maximum which usually works, but this time there was a train in front of him & he wasn't paying attention. He shouldn't have to tell the investigators that he had been previously suspended, they should be able to read that in his T driving record... or does the T not keep accurate records? As for motorman not remembering, he could be making that up or the impact did an "etch-a-sketch erase" on the short-term brain cells. I've had that happen twice when I've tripped & fell and hit my head, or when I popped a tendon and fell; I don't remember tripping or falling or hitting my head, was moving forward then suddenly on the ground with no memory in between.
  by diburning
Type 7s have PCC style (which is similar to automotive style) foot pedals with the power on the right, and the brake to the left of it, and a deadman pedal for the left foot. Type 8s have a power handle on the left side where at rest, it points toward the front. The operator has to turn it 90 degrees (which acts as a deadman) before using it as a power throttle. Push up to accelerate, pull back to brake.

I have not seen the cab of a type 9 to be able to tell you how that's set up.
  by STrRedWolf
This was preventable two different ways. The first was the operator -- given his tendency to speed, he should have been fired much earlier. That is a management failure.

The second is not putting some sort of over-speed and signaling on the Green Line in the first place! "Automatic Train Protection" like we have in Baltimore. The fact that they're just now "getting around to it" is no excuse for the here and now. I bet the NTSB would be yelling about that. Once again, management failure.
  by caduceus
Any particular reason why they can't retrofit an automatic collision avoidance system based on closing rate? Most cars have them now...
  by jaymac
$$ -- just guessing...