Massachusetts Commuter Rail Accident at Boston South Station, September 15, 2009

There has been another train accident on the commuter rail, this time at South Station in Boston. The Boston Herald reports that approximately 9AM, train 512, which originated in Worcester, failed to stop in time and collided with the end-of-track bumper at South Station, the last stop on the route.  Of the approximately 100 passengers on the train, at least 18 people suffered personal injuries, many of whom were treated at local hospitals. 

Although the train was allegedly traveling at a speed of 5 miles per hour at the time of the collision, many passengers were standing in preparation for getting off the train and were thrown to the floor and suffered personal injuries.  Many patients were taken off the train on backboards by emergency personnel.  Boston Medical Center activated its emergency plan in case a large number of injured passengers.

Transportation officials have already suggested that operator error contributed to the collision.  Investigations by the MBTA and the National Transportation Safety Board are underway.  Preliminary reports have ruled out signal, dispatching, or equipment problems as a cause.  The Boston Herald has reported that the train’s engineer told supervisors that he misjudged the stopping distance at the South Station platform. The engineer will be tested for drugs and alcohol.

Ordinarily, trains stop dozens of yards back from the bumpers, which are the emergency devices designed to stop the train at the end of the track and to protect people in the train station. There are no recent reports of other crashes into the bumpers.

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Train hits South Station bumper, 16 passengers hurt, Boston Herald, September 15, 2009

18 injured in commuter rail mishap at South Station,, September 15, 2009