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Track fire near South Station shuts Red Line right at rush hour

The scene at South Station

The scene outside South Station. Photo by Ross Chanowski.

UPDATE: 6:30 p.m. Trains running again. UPDATE: 6:02 p.m. Fire declared out, firefighters packing up.

An insulated cable that erupted into flames shortly after 5 p.m. south of South Station shut Red Line service in both directions between JFK/UMass and Park Street and forced the driver of one outbound train to reverse direction and head back to South Station.

The T is rounding up buses for substitute service. Commuter-rail service is, as of 5:25 p.m., still running normally.

Response to the fire was hampered by some confusion as to whether power was off on the track: T workers at the scene said it was, but the T's High Street command center said it wasn't. Firefighters aren't normally allowed on the tracks unless the power is off.

Caroline Cook was on the last outbound train to leave South Station:

Conductor keeps running through to get extinguishers.

Reversing train back to South Station.

The hordes at Park Street (photo by d'sean):

Park Street

The hordes at JFK/UMass (photo by Anne-Marie McLaughlin):

Park Street
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Thank you so much, Adam! I'm sitting here in my S Station area office building ignoring the usual sirens. Now that I know that the Red Line is messed up, I can take my backup route home.

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We want to thank "John," who helped these two lost tourists navigate our way past through this red line shut down to our destination, which meant taking a commuter train and transferring at JFK/UMass to make our way back to our hotel. Your kindness in helping us is one of the highlights of our first visit to Boston, MA. Thank you!!

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I relayed your message to him. He was happy to help! : )

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