Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Operator tied cord around throttle, report says
 Mar 01, 2016

BOSTON —The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority released the final report on an incident regarding a runaway train in December.

The report confirmed former MBTA operator David Vazquez tied a cord around what is known as the "dead man's switch" of the Red Line train as he went to access the emergency bypass switch. 

The report said when Vazquez exited the front door of the driver's cab to access the emergency bypass switch, he forgot to remove the cord and set the hand brake, as required by procedure. When Vazquez activated the emergency bypass switch, the train accelerated to 25 mph due to the controller set to the full power position. 

Vazquez suffered a laceration to his right leg while jumping out of the way to avoid the runaway train.

The train rolled through Quincy Adams, Quincy Center and Wollaston stations and stopped just past North Quincy before MBTA personnel cut power to the third rail, bringing the train to a stop.

Fifty passengers were on the train when the incident occurred.

"While the MBTA is grateful that no one was harmed, the safety of our passengers and employees is something we take very seriously," said MBTA general manager Frank DePaola in a statement. "Within a week of the incident, the MBTA acted quickly, implementing new procedures which require a supervisor be present when a train operator is granted permission to 'bypass' a faulty signal."

DePaola also said a special order was issued by the MBTA to all train operators, reinforcing policies against tampering with safety equipment. 

The MBTA fired Vazquez days after the incident. 

The report contributes the cause of the incident to limited operator familiarity with Mattapan Line operations lay up procedure and braking tools, as well as Green Line operators not required to re-train on the Mattapan Line after long periods away. 

Vazquez provided a written statement to the MBTA on Dec. 10, 2015 saying it was his fault. "The light was off in the cab," read the statement. "I could not see the situation at hand. I forgot and misplaced what I had done after talking to the dispatcher."


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