The MBTA says wet rails were to blame for the construction crash that disrupted Orange Line service last month, after footage of the collision was released this week.
The Oct. 20 collision between two contractor vehicles during the MBTA’s weekend work on the Orange Line resulted in the line’s downtown station closures extending through the Monday morning commute Oct. 21 and cascading disruption through the system. MBTA officials said the incident, which occurred between North Station and Community College, injured one worker. Officials were able to restore normal service before the evening rush hour that Monday afternoon.
Footage of the incident obtained this Wednesday by Boston 25 News shows a vehicle coming down the tracks before colliding with a stopped vehicle in the foreground, pushing it farther down the rail and causing sparks to fly.
A worker can also be seen jumping from the stationary vehicle moments before the collision.
#BREAKING: Boston 25 News has acquired new video of two contractor vehicles colliding on the tracks in an #MBTA #OrangeLine tunnel on Oct. 20, leading to an extended closure. WATCH just how close workers were to the collision! https://t.co/r9sIVBz1qu pic.twitter.com/rN2TIjWQzO
— Boston 25 News (@boston25) November 13, 2019
MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo told Boston.com that officials are still investigating the incident, but that the “underlying cause was slippery rail due to precipitation.”
Pesaturo also said the agency implemented a number of safety measures following the crash, including putting MBTA employees at key locations to coordinate maintenance vehicles movements and increasing on-site safety staff and project managers to ensure the weekend construction does not affect Monday morning subway service.
The MBTA is also requiring all maintenance vehicles to do a safety stop prior to entering sloped track. Pesaturo said the measures include stopping vehicles that encounter slippery rails or have difficulty with a grade of track. In that scenario, employees would also be required to “perform an assessment to determine the safest course of action.”
Pesaturo said the new actions applied to both the Orange Line work, which finished last weekend, as well as the weekend Red Line project, which begins Friday night. The Red Line work will result in closures between Kendall/MIT and Broadway stations every weekend from Nov. 16 to Dec. 15 — with the exception of Thanksgiving weekend.
Steve Poftak, the MBTA’s general manager, said last month that the unprecedented weekend shutdowns will accelerate improvements to the transit system, ranging from cosmetic upgrades to a number of downtown stations to the replacement of the actual track.
However, Poftak said the crash reflected the need for MBTA management to review its standards for contractors and also reconnect with its frontline employees, particularly around safety issues.
“We need to create a culture that embodies safety in a way that is meaningful for all employees,” Poftak said.
Pesaturo said Thursday that safety is “the MBTA’s top priority.”
Sign up for Boston.com Today to get the headlines delivered to your inbox.
Thanks for signing up!