MBTA Safety Incidents: Timeline Maps Recent Problems

The MBTA shutdown of the Orange Line follows a long series of safety incidents and comes amid scrutiny from the Federal Transit Administration

NBC Universal, Inc.

The MBTA's announcement that the Orange Line will shut down for 30 days comes amid mounting scrutiny from federal investigators, elected officials and the general public.

A long series of safety issues has plagued the public transportation system, with many noteworthy incidents taking place since 2021.

The Federal Transit Administration has been reviewing the MBTA's safety practices for months. Just last week, the FTA prohibited the MBTA from allowing any workers who have not attended a safety briefing from moving train cars.

The FTA pointed to three runaway train incidents since the end of May — including one last week in Braintree — which it called "exceptionally dangerous."

Days after the FTA's order, an electrical issue stopped a train on the MBTA Commuter Rail's Framingham/Worcester Line, leaving passengers stranded in the heat without air conditioning. Against the urges of train crew, some of those travelers escaped through emergency exits and could be seen climbing a ladder over a fence to get off the railway.

When Orange Line riders learned of the shutdown — which will be in place from Aug. 19 through Sept. 18 to facilitate infrastructure updates — it had been less than two weeks since some had to get off a burning train on a bridge over Mystic River. That incident prompted Boston Mayor Michelle Wu to call for "drastic action," including potentially shutting down the T.

Many smaller problems have also affected riders of the beleaguered transit system in recent months, but below is a look at some of the major safety incidents since last year.

This map is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all incidents involving the MBTA, which serves hundreds of thousands of riders daily.

Contact Us