Fitchburg Line train derails in Belmont; no injuries

MBTA Transit Police report an outbound train derailed a bit in Belmont Center. MBTA and Belmont Police helped passengers off the train and back to the station to await buses to take them the rest of the way. "NO INJURIES," Transit Police tweeted.

Channel 25 reports T officials called the wheel slipping off the track "a relatively minor incident."

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What is it going to take for

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What is it going to take for a massive overhaul of our transit infrastructure?

If a wheel slipping off the track is "minor", what's major? Two trains colliding at speed, killing dozens?

And guess what? The Green Line collapsed again during this morning's rush hour. The system is so fragile that one disabled train -- do we ever find out what broke on it? -- throws the entire rush hour into a tailspin.

How do we get out of this mess?

Fragile is right - where is the redundancy/backup?

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That's the question I am always asking, because I cut my teeth in a field that if you didn't have layers built into the system, you were dead. Literally.

There is now little or no redundancy in most of our critical infrastructure (a notable exception is our water system, which even during aquapocalypse, turned out to have a usable secondary system, notwithstanding the warnings about not drinking which we discovered later were well-advised but probably not necessary). It's not just limited to public sector-owned infrastructure either (yeah, I'm talking about you, NStar).

On a more abstract level, this is an unpleasant realization because New Englanders have traditionally been famous for our resourcefulness, and propensity for always be stocking a little away for tomorrow, for keeping some of our powder dry.

Alas, we have apparently been sucked into the faster/cheaper/more-but-crappier-quality mentality of the rest of the country.

You know how?

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Cut defense spending by 40%. It's a nice thought.

defense spending has doubled since 2000

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and RomneyRyan plans to increase it another 25%.

The US does not need to NATO defense, we can ask our allies to take up some of those costs.

We spend billions upon billions developing new weapons systems the Pentagon DOES NOT WANT.

I was on the train

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and it WAS a minor incident. Most people didn't know anything had happened until we stopped and the conductor made an announcement.

I was on the train, too

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and it while it may have been a minor incident, it was very nearly a major incident. I was on the car whose wheels derailed. There was violent shaking before someone pulled the emergency brake and the train stopped.

Terrible

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Please thank the camp counselor who acted quickly and directed a camper to pull the emergency brake. He may have saved lives (I was on that car, too, and it was absolutely terrifying. The power went out and the car was shaking).

If the power went out, it's

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If the power went out, it's because the cables connecting the power between two cars came loose. The knuckle holding the cars together didn't. Although probably nerve tracking, it really isn't something that will hurt anyone. The cables just had to be put back. It's like a giant outlet. You plug them in between cars. Sometimes they do come loose.

No derailment is 'minor'

and this one could have been much worse. What if it had happened instead to the next scheduled train (8:55 am from North Station), which passes through Belmont at full speed without stopping?

Always has a feeling like ready to tip

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I've ridden the Fitchburg train into Boston a few times and it always feels like the train is ready to tip as it stops in Belmont.

BIG RED FLAG

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This is a BIG RED FLAG about safety issues on the commuter rail lines.

It must be taken seriously, studied and reported to the public.