Rail breaks disrupt commuters on heels of fare-hike news
By State House News Service | January 5, 2016, 16:40 EDT
BOSTON – A commuter rail train without any passengers derailed north of the Andover station Tuesday morning, a day after transit agency overseers advanced two options for hiking fares this year by roughly 6.7 percent or 9.7 percent.
The Haverhill-bound train was moving to set up for morning service, said Mac Daniel, a spokesman for Keolis Commuter Services, the commuter rail operator. The derailment occurred about 4 a.m., according to Daniel, who said a conductor and an engineer were on board and no one was injured.
The two derailed coaches – which did not tip over – clogged railroad commutes north of Boston as it tied up trains farther up the line. Keolis canceled some runs and used buses to transport riders between Haverhill and Andover and may result in delays on the line for the evening commute.
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the incident is under investigation.
“The Federal Railroad Administration has three inspectors on site where the MBTA derailment occurred near Andover earlier today and is investigating the cause. Prior to the line returning to active service, MBTA must inspect the repaired section of track, along with signals and any switches within the derailment area, as required by federal regulations,” a representative of the federal agency said in a statement.
Daniel said officials are looking at track infrastructure as the possible cause of the derailment and expects commuter rail service to be “full steam” for the afternoon commute. On Tuesday afternoon, Daniel told the News Service the first train had just recently traversed the section of repaired track.
“The track structure failed. We don’t really know why at this point,” Rich Murphy, director of train operations for Keolis, said in a video posted online Tuesday morning explaining the delays.
Including the derailed train, five trains were trapped north of Andover as a result of the accident, according to Keolis.
Separately, the Boston Herald reported the transit agency had called in Massachusetts State Police to help inspect Red Line subway rails “out of an abundance of caution,” according to Pesaturo. A rail on the line broke Tuesday morning, disrupting morning commute service, bu there was no sign it was connected to the commuter rail line break, the newspaper said on its website.