By adamg on Sun, 12/29/2019 - 11:11pm
MassDOT reported Sunday night that repairs to the Worcester Line tracks near Lansdowne are "substantially complete" and that service would likely be back to normal Monday, but there's a storm coming and that might cause its own issues, in part because of some of the repair work that remains to be finished:
Some additional track work remains ongoing to restore one crossing damaged during the December 26 derailment to full functionality. Although this crossing is not critical to restoring regular service on the Worcester Line, having it operational allows for additional resiliency during inclement weather.
Immediately following the incident, the MBTA, Keolis, and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) began an investigation, which found that the track infrastructure and train set involved were in good working condition before the December 26 event. Initial findings also suggest the train crew allowed the incident train to pass through a switch that was not properly aligned. No passengers were onboard the coach car that derailed, and there were no injuries to passengers or train crews. With indications of human error as the contributing cause, the MBTA and Keolis took immediate steps to enhance crew training, strengthen communications between crews and dispatchers, and inspect similar systems across the network.
In response to this incident and following the details confirmed through the MBTA-Keolis-FRA investigation, several additional actions have already been taken. A special instruction to all Commuter Rail train crews was issued to further increase awareness around the rules governing manual switch operations. The maintenance records for the track infrastructure involved in this incident have been reviewed and all required maintenance was completed appropriately, and Keolis and MBTA crews are currently inspecting all systems on similar track infrastructure across the network.
Keolis and the MBTA also plan to enhance training for conductors and engineers, including additional hands-on switch training and an expanded skills assessment program both on-trains and utilizing a new Keolis-MBTA simulator. Keolis and the MBTA installed last year a practice switch for training and built a state-of-the-art locomotive simulator. These are both located at the MBTA facility in Somerville, Mass.