MBTA plans to fire driver involved in Green Line crash

Boston Statehouse

Initial results from a federal investigation into the collision of two Green Line trains found that one was traveling three times the posted speed limit. (Matt Kaminsky)

BOSTON (SHNS) – The MBTA will take steps to fire the Green Line operator who investigators say accelerated a trolley to three times the speed limit before crashing into another train from behind, officials announced Tuesday.

Hours after the National Transportation Safety Board published a preliminary report about the July 30 collision, an MBTA spokesperson said the T is “taking the steps necessary to end the employment of the individual involved in the collision.”

The MBTA placed the driver, a seven-year veteran, on administrative leave one day after the crash on the B Branch near Boston University, then suspended the employee without pay effective Monday. Officials at the transit agency will now embark on a process outlined in collective bargaining to terminate the individual, whom the MBTA has not identified.

NTSB investigators said in their preliminary report that the driver placed the westbound trolley’s controls into a “full-power position,” accelerating to 31 miles per hour before striking another westbound train ahead of it that had been traveling at about 10 miles per hour near Boston University. Twenty-four passengers and three crewmembers were transported to the hospital with minor injuries after the crash.

“The delivery of safe and reliable service is the MBTA’s top priority, and the MBTA took swift action following the July 30th incident to place the operator on leave,” a T spokesperson said. “The MBTA and Transit Police will continue to work with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office in its ongoing investigation into the trolley operator’s actions. The MBTA thanks the NTSB investigators for their diligence and hard work in establishing the facts surrounding the collision.”

A spokesperson for the Boston Carmen’s Union that represents many MBTA workers could not be reached Tuesday afternoon. The MBTA continues to work to implement anti-collision technology on the Green Line, after federal officials first recommended in 2009 that the agency install a system known as positive train control. Officials expect the $170 million project to be completed in 2024.

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