‘Worst public transportation’: Commuters frustrated after MBTA derailment halts Red Line service

BOSTON — Frustration grew among early-morning commuters on Tuesday when a derailment halted Red Line service between Harvard and Broadway stations.

“I think this is the worst public transportation you’ve got in the world. I mean that now. I’ve gone to London, New York City, San Francisco, wherever you want to go, and this is the worst,” said Mike Connolly, who was waiting for shuttle buses with other commuters.

“We got kicked off at JFK-UMass, told to get shuttle buses from there to wherever we needed to go. Then they came down, half an hour later, said, ‘Oh no, it’s still going to Broadway.’ So then we all went back up, and now we’re here and there’s no shuttle buses,” he told Boston 25.

According to the MBTA, more than 50 shuttle buses replaced service between Harvard and Broadway due to an earlier derailment of a maintenance vehicle at Park Street.

Around 10 a.m., regular service resumed at Broadway Station.

The derailment caused some damage to the third rail that will require hours of repair work by the MBTA Power Department, officials said. MBTA personnel are working to re-rail the vehicle and move the track maintenance equipment off of the main line.

The incident happened while crews were moving materials and equipment in preparation for the upcoming 16-day track improvement project between Kendall and Alewife Stations. That begins on July 13.

The MBTA encouraged riders heading to downtown to use Commuter Rail service from JFK/UMass to South Station and from Porter Station to North Station.

MBTA CEO Phillip Eng spoke at a press conference in Worcester on Tuesday about the issues passengers faced.

“I know how this impacted our riders this morning, but we are committed to improving service over the long haul,” Eng said. “One of the challenges of getting the equipment into these tunnels is the lack of access and the need to be pulling these rails through the tunnel process.”

“I should have taken the Commuter Rail. I think that was the biggest mistake I made today,” said commuter Elajia Boyd.

“And they expect us to pay for this,” said Connolly, who was trying to get to Copley station. “Why should we pay for this? And why would tourists come to Boston? Sorry, I’m not from Boston, I’m from Ireland. Why would you want tourists coming to Boston with this setup? I’m over it man. It takes an hour and 10 minutes to get from Park Street to Quincy Center now on the Red Line.”

In a statement, the MBTA said, “The MBTA apologizes to Red Line riders affected by this morning’s incident involving a piece of track maintenance equipment. MBTA crews are working diligently to restore train service as soon as possible.”

At approximately 4:45 a.m. Tuesday, a piece of maintenance equipment derailed on the northbound Red Line track at Park Station, officials said.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation. Per standard protocol, the state Department of Public Utilities and the Federal Transit Administration were notified of the incident.

Commuters, meanwhile, weren’t happy about their halted commute on Tuesday.

“Boston (is) a major city, major city in America,” Connolly said. “It’s just getting a bit old man, you know. No thanks, you know. It’s like we’re in a bloody third-world country.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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