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Man was dragged to his death on the Red Line because a door safety mechanism failed, federal investigators say

Red Line car in the shop

The deadly Red Line car after the death. Photo by NTSB.

Robinson Lalin died in a Red Line tunnel just past Broadway station because he tried to exit the train through the one door on which a mechanism intended to keep the train from moving if it wasn't fully closed failed, the National Transportation Safety Board reported this morning.

In its brief initial report, in an investigation it says is ongoing, the NTSB says the MBTA checked all the doors on Red Line trains and found only the one in which Lalin got stuck was broken that way.

MBTA trains are designed and equipped with safety features to prevent them from moving when the passenger doors are obstructed. NTSB investigators examined and tested the railcar involved after the accident, identifying a fault in a local door control system that enabled the train to move with the door obstructed. The MBTA immediately initiated a fleet inspection looking for the identified fault in other railcars to prevent reoccurrence. The MBTA reported that no other similar faults were found during the inspection.

The report does not say whether the train operator visually checked the doors before starting the inbound train moving.

The bureau also summarized what happened as Lalin was trying to get off the train around 12:30 a.m. on April 10:

Surveillance video reviewed by National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators showed that the passenger attempted to exit the six-car train through the side passenger door of the railcar they were riding in as the train doors were closing. In the attempt to exit the train, the passenger’s right arm was trapped in the door. The train departed the station, dragging the passenger along the platform about 105 feet and onto the surface below, near the tracks.

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Comments

Bad luck.

Too bad the T doesn't have any human operators to serve as the final safety check.

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I didnt know that the Red Line was 100% driverless.

Nice try Union Bro, but no cigar.

Maybe the issue is that the system that would prevent this failed. You know on those Red Line cars that are older than I am.

As far as human operators. I think you mean the person who was in the middle of the train that the T got rid of once they installed Cameras and a display near the driver. That is what this is there for. A second person wouldn't have prevented this, as the driver is suppose to look at the monitors.

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Wild guess that the comment you were responding to was sarcasm.

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I thought this happened at Broadway. Anyword if the MBTA has checked other cars for a safety issue regarding the doors? Are they tested regularly?

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Thanks for pointing that out; story fixed.

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Still waiting for the Transit police to release their report to see if they agree with the findings of the NTSB

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None of this explains why the 01500 Red Line cars have notices on the doors that say that the doors do not recycle.

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They used to have those notices until they completed a program to retrofit the doors with sensitive edge strips so that they should recycle. That appears to be the system or part of the system that failed.

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it will open but not automatically try to reclose - unlike how elevator doors operate. Rather, the operator has to close the doors instead. This type of door control system for subway cars was first used on New York City's Independent Subway (IND) lines in 1932.

The intent is to provide a check (the operator) to ensure the doors are no longer obstructed before they close. In this case, it was the system that detects obstructions that failed.

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Mr. Lalin was dragged 150 feet along the platform. Since the Red Lines cars are 60-70 feet long, that suggests that he was trapped in the middle or rear door of the second car. How could the operator of the train not have seen him? The operators are supposed to visually check that the doors are clear and no one is on the yellow rumble strip. It seems clear that someone died because the train operator couldn't be bothered to do his/her job. When are we going to see someone charged with homicide? Or is the T going to bury this?

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Can one of the more train-oriented readers identify how old the car in question is? And, of course, how many years past its expected lifespan it's now being pushed.

What a tragic, senseless fucking thing to happen. The MBTA and state should use this as a wake up call, but, of course, they won't.

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Was delivered in 1969 or 1970 and rebuilt in the late 1980s. I can't tell you what the expected lifespan is/was, but the Red Line fleet generally appears to be in better shape than the other lines with cars of similar age.

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