Serious MBTA Commuter Rail Accident on Stoughton Line Injures 150 Passengers

UPDATE (4/18/08): The MBTA has filed suit against CSX Transportation and Cohenno lumber company of Stoughton, Massachusetts. The suit alleges that the runaway freight car did not have its hand brakes set, that chocks were not in place, that lumber yard were moving the car improperly, and that the derailing devices were not properly used on the tracks. As a result, the fully loaded freight car, weighing approximately
112 tons, left the yard and traveled approximately three miles before striking the commuter train with hundreds aboard. The accident injured around 150 passengers.

The MBTA claims that the crash as cost it over $1 million in property damage and overtime expenses. Passengers who suffered personal injuries are not part of this case.


Boston Globe April 18, 2008

ORIGINAL BLOG: It looks like an alert train engineer acted quickly and helped reduce what could have been an even more serious accident on the MBTA Stoughton commuter rail line on March 25th. According to news reports, the evening commuter train was outbound from Boston with approximately 600 passengers. A track signal warned that a car was on the tracks ahead, and the engineer was able to stop the train. However, he was not able to avoid the collision with the runaway freight car which hit the engine head-on.

At least 150 people were injured in the train accident. It has been reported that the injuries were not serious, except for the engineer. Standing passengers were thrown to the floor. Cuts from
head injuries were common, people suffered broken noses, facial cuts, twisted ankles, neck injuries, and back injuries. Passengers were dazed from the impact. Area ambulance crews and local emergency rooms were overwhelmed.

The cause of the accident appears to be a runaway freight car loaded with lumber. News reports indicate that the freight car was parked at a lumber yard. It apparently rolled from the yard, and
had sufficient momentum to roll for miles down the track before colliding with the train.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, but this much is known. When a freight car is left at a customer yard on a track spur or siding, it needs to be parked and secured properly.
Three things are required: the hand brakes must be set, the wheels must be block (or “chocked”), and a derailing device must be placed to prevent the car from leaving the yard. Somehow, despite these safety requirements, the heavy freight car did enter the main train line and cause the crash.

If the MBTA commuter rail train had not stopped before the crash, the accident would have been much more severe.As it was, the commuters reported that it felt like the train had “hit a wall.”

News Stories
Freight car rams commuter train, injuring 150, Boston Globe, March 26, 2008

Scores injured in Canton commuter rail crash, Boston Herald, March 26, 2006

If you need a lawyer to handle your MBTA train accident case, please contact us toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use the contact form on this page. The lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have decades of experience in handling passenger accident cases. For more information
on choosing a train accident attorney, visit our page on Personal Injuries Caused by Train Accidents.