Crash Shows Need for PTC on Boston Mass Transit

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The following is excerpted from a post by Christian MilNeil on about a recent crash on the city’s rail system and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s move toward implementing an automated-braking system.

BOSTON — On Friday evening, two Green Line trains collided on the B Branch on Commonwealth Avenue, injuring 25 riders.

The incident remains under investigation, but eyewitness reports suggest that one outbound train crashed into a second train that had been stopped on the tracks in the vicinity of Babcock Street, where contractors are in the midst of building a new station.

Related post:
Positive Train Control Ready Ahead of Schedule

It was the first major crash on the Green Line in over a decade. In 2008, a crash on the D branch in Newton killed MBTA train operator Ter’rese Edmonds and injured seven passengers. In 2009, another crash near the Government Center station injured 68 riders.

After both of those incidents, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that the T install a “positive train control” system – technologies designed to prevent collisions between trains – on the Green Line.

But that recommendation languished for over a decade, as the T juggled other pressing priorities and a massive backlog in necessary repair work.

So it’s ironic that Friday’s crash happened while the T is finally getting ready to upgrade safety systems on Green Line trains.

In January 2020, the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board authorized a contract for a new Green Line Train Protection System, a $170 million project that’s scheduled to begin installation next year and be completed by 2024.

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The project “is designed to reduce the risk of train collisions by installing signal overrun protection, collision avoidance monitoring, and speed enforcing transponders,” wrote MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo in an email to Streetsblog on Monday morning. “Installation of both vehicle-borne (on Green Line trolleys) and wayside (along the track) components is anticipated to begin early next year.”

The entire post can be viewed by clicking HERE.

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