MBTA Commuter Rail Train Stops Without Electricity, Passengers Use Emergency Exits

Passengers climbed ladders to get off the railway near Boston Landing Station in Brighton after a train on the MBTA Commuter Rail's Framingham/Worcester Line stopped due to an electrical problem

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A train on the MBTA Commuter Rail's Framingham/Worcester Line was forced to stop in Boston's Brighton neighborhood because of an electrical issue Monday, leaving it without air conditioning.

The incident happened on an outbound train around 6 p.m. past Boston Landing Station, MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo said on behalf of Keolis, the company that operates the Commuter Rail.

Riders climbed over a fence to get off the railway after using emergency exits to escape a train stopped without electricity on the MBTA Commuter Rail.

Footage from the scene shows people who had left the train through the emergency exits climbing a ladder to get off the railway.

Chrissy Brown was on the train for close to two hours in the sweltering heat.

"We were kind of joking, like, calling them 'the escapees,' 'I wonder what it's like out there to breathe air,' joking," Brown said. "But you know, in all seriousness, I started thinking, 'what if there's someone on the train who's diabetic, or sick, or this is actually not funny?'"

A train on the MBTA Commuter Rail's Framingham/Worcester Line stopped due to an electrical issue near Boston Landing Station

Brown says the passengers got off about an hour and 15 minutes after the train stalled.

The safety stand-down is being required by the Federal Transit Administration to go into effect after midnight Saturday. In a letter to the MBTA dated Thursday, the agency cited "a continued failure to sufficiently prevent unintended and uncontrolled train movements by disabled trains."

Pesaturo said that because of the spot where the train was stopped, "it was determined that the safest option was for passengers to remain on board," but that some used the emegency exits against the urging of the train's crew.

"The MBTA and Keolis understand that passengers were frustrated while the train was stopped without electricity to enable air-conditioning or announcements, but the safest alternative in such a situation is to keep passengers on board," Pesaturo told NBC10 Boston in a statement.

Brown says she and other passengers waited nearly two hours for the train to be towed back to Boston Landing. Some boarded another train, but Brown's husband picked her up.

"It's a mess," she said. "It's truly a mess."

The embattled MBTA has been under intense public scrutiny amid a series of recent safety issues. Monday is the first evening of shuttle buses replacing Red Line trains between JFK/UMass and Braintree -- where a runaway train delayed service last week. That was the third runaway train incident on the MBTA since the end of May, prompting the Federal Transit Administration to order the agency not to allow workers who have not been briefed on safety to move trains.

The FTA has been reviewing the MBTA's safety practices for months. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu recently called for "drastic action" after an Orange Line fire that saw passengers escaping through train windows on a bridge over Mystic River.

An Orange Line train caught fire Thursday in the latest safety issue on the beleaguered MBTA.

NBC/State House News Servicet
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