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Multiple injuries when one B Line trolley crashes into another

Crashed trolley

Rear of the train that was hit. Photo by Greg Moseley.

An outbound Green Line trolley crashed into the back of another outbound trolley on Commonwealth Avenue just past Agganis Arena shortly after 6 p.m.

The Boston Fire Department reported 23 people with injuries were transported to local hospitals. None of the injuries were considered life threatening.

The trolley on the left hit the trolley on the right:

B Line service was halted between Kenmore and Packards Corner. The T promised shuttle buses, but much of Commonwealth Avenue was shut as well around the crash scene, although some lanes were later re-opened.

After the trolleys were cleared, Transit Police unrolled police tape around the trolleys.

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Another driver texting again?

Voting closed 31

how the hell does this happen, in broad daylight, on one of the clearest stretches of track in Boston?

Voting closed 49

Medical incident maybe? I'm only speculating here, but there was a similar incident on the green line several years ago where the operator had lost consciousness and rear ended the trolley in front.

Voting closed 23

I am surprised there were that many people on the T during BU summer session in general and that they were going fast enough in that area to injure anyone.

Voting closed 20

The B Line carries anyone from BC all the way downtown.

While BU has a lot of local traffic in that section, it's by no means the primary use of the B Line.

Voting closed 27

and that they were going fast enough in that area to injure anyone.

Objects in motion like to stay in motion, after all. And when object A acts upon object B with a certain force, object B exerts that equal and opposite force onto A. And that force, not only is proportional to the (negative) acceleration of the train, but also to the mass of the train. They do have significant mass to them, after all, whereas the passengers on the train have much less mass to absorb the acceleration from the applied force.

It's often not speed itself that causes injury in collisions, it's the rapid change in speed. We could design the most crash-resistant automobile, but if you are driving fast enough when you hit a solid object, they'll find your body intact, buckled in to your seat, dead from your heart tearing from your aorta during rapid deceleration.

Voting closed 23

Or maybe the T driver suffered a medical emergency?

Voting closed 21

on this surface part of the Green Line? Is there any automatic train stop here?

Voting closed 14

Serious answer: I don't know, but I think they're planning to do it someday.

Anecdotal answer: It stops at every damn intersection on Comm Ave between Kenmore and BC anyway, so why would they bother?

Voting closed 24

Am working on a story about it right now.

Voting closed 43

has, I believe, all wayside signaling. There's no ATS. One of the issues is that it would be difficult to put on the street-running and at-grade portions, another is that it would reduce the capacity of the Boylston subway because they regularly pull trains close together (albeit at low speeds, which this was most certainly not).

How this happens is beyond me, although there's also the question of, if anyone were dispatching trains at Park Street, why two B Line trains would be running back-to-back at this location. Although it looks like one of the cars may have split a switch or fully derailed? Maybe we can blame a Type 8 for this.

Voting closed 18

The T finally got around to hiring a company to build a "Green Line Train Protection System" last year, but no actual physical work has begun.

Voting closed 23

WBZ quotes the GM saying they derailed after the crash.

Either way, you have to figure there's a minimum safe following distance between trolleys. I used to train people to drive big vehicles downtown---you simply *cannot* run into somebody from behind like that; if you did, you were too close and/or going too fast.

Unless there was some catastrophic mechanical failure, this sort of things is absolutely preventable even without more modern electronic safety features

Voting closed 23

There is no signal system. Trains have to keep visual separation on the surface branches, except the D branch which has signals. Trolleys on the surface don't really need signals to protect from rear-end collisions any more than cars do, since visibility is good and trolleys can stop much faster than a train. A signal system wouldn't even make sense on the street-running part of the E, since the train runs in mixed traffic with cars, etc which would have nothing to do with rail signals.

Voting closed 16

I saw a T worker using a yellow signal flag the day before in that area, so possible extenuating circumstances.

Voting closed 15

It must the first time that Green Line B has ever been described as fast by passengers.

Voting closed 30