Disabled train leaves some commuter rail passengers stranded for hours

QUINCY, Mass. — Some commuter rail riders are hoping to never relive the nightmare commute they suffered through Tuesday evening.

Middleboro Train 019 (4:40 pm outbound) became disabled at Quincy Center and caused a backlog of severe delays on the Middleboro, Kingston and Greenbush lines. Delays or more than an hour were reported.

Meghan Anderson, who was on the stranded train, told Boston 25 News her commute from South Station to Bridgewater took three hours.

“All of a sudden, right around JFK, things halted,” Anderson said. “The power went off. Very little announcements from the conductors, and from there it just kind of went downhill very quickly.”

Without any power, the train had no heat and no functioning restrooms.

“Then we did get an update we'd have to be pushed along by a train behind us, but unfortunately they didn't have any power either so we sat there about an hour,” Anderson said.

Justin Thompson, a spokesperson for Keolis, the company that runs the commuter rail, told Boston 25 News Train 019’s engine had a mechanical issue. Train 021 (5:12 pm outbound) came and connected to Train 019 and they made their way as one, at a reduced speed, to the Braintree stop.

Passengers on Train 019 then got off the train and waited about ten minutes for another train to arrive and complete their trip to Middleboro.

TIMELINE
5 pm - Middleboro Train 019 is stopped due to a mechanical issue and is running 5-15 minutes behind schedule
5:15 pm - Middleboro Train 019 remains stopped due to a mechanical issue and will be assisted by Middleboro Train 021 (5:12 pm outbound) for continued outbound service
6:02 pm –Middleboro Train 019 and Middleboro Train 021 have connected and are operating as one train at a reduced speed to Middleboro
6:19 pm – Middleboro Train 019 passengers will transfer to another train at Braintree for continued outbound service
6:47 pm – Middleboro Train 019 is operating 90-100 minutes behind schedule between Montello and Middleboro because of an earlier mechanical issue 

Thompson noted Keolis had crews pre-positioned around the network to help expedite the response.

The also activated switch heaters, which melt snow and ice from the rails. Keolis’ Emergency Operations Center will be staffed throughout the night to help minimize the impacts of the storm and the rain expected to fall tomorrow.

Crews will also be out overnight clearing platforms from nearly 140 commuter rail stations.

“Generally, today’s commute for passengers who left early went relatively smoothly,” Thompson said. “Much of the network continues to see that performance with a few exceptions.”

Anderson, who pays $320 a month to ride the commuter rail, said she feels it’s one thing after another.

“It's a reoccurrence,” Anderson said. “I just feel like this situation tonight - I know there's snow on the ground - but I feel like it just brings light to the issue. It needs addressing.”

Anderson said she felt she received better updates from the commuter rail’s Twitter account than from Keolis workers on board the train.

“I also think the conductors - I know they're in a tough spot - but the level of customer service is pretty much non-existent,” Anderson said.

Passengers are advised to stay connected to mbta.com and Twitter for updates.