Report: Trolley driver has long history of speeding infractions

WCVB reports the MBTA has found no track or signal problems on the Green Line between Kenmore and Fenway and that its attention is now focused on the driver, who was taken off the job following yesterday's D Line derailment.

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MBTA FTMFW!!!!

Gardner has a three-decade history of motor vehicle driving infractions, according to records from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. The infractions include speeding, failure to stop and several license suspensions for failure to make required payments.

His driving record was not checked when he was hired in 2008, because it was not required by law at the time.

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His driving record was not

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His driving record was not checked when he was hired in 2008, because it was not required by law at the time.

Come again? I thought safety was the T's number-one priority. Unless of course, the union has a problem with that.

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Didn't something

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Similar happen 2 yo. About 100 drivers lied about having their GED's.

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No idea who the driver is

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But there was always one Green Line in the morning that would blow through turns at what seemed twice as fast as most of the other drivers.

I never got the point. It can't be to keep on schedule when they just end up sitting behind a trolly in front of them anyways, which then just messes up the schedule more.

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Presumably the same reason

Presumably the same reason some people floor it as soon as the light turns green, even when there's another red light (or traffic backed up) 1/8 of a mile ahead of them.

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I'll bet you he was aware

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of the pressing need to get back to Riverside in time for the shift change for the next inbound run though. And if he had been delayed because the dispatcher felt like messing with the schedule due to one or more "headway adjustment" stops along the way, that might explain the excessive speed.

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Wonder if it's the same operator that

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I encountered one morning who blew through every red signal between North Station and Park Street and was about to blow through the red signal entering Boylston. The only reason he suddenly stopped was when he noticed another train on the platform.

At the time, I sent a rather detailed "write to the top" to the MBTA about this operator's actions. Apart from the robo-reply, I never got any sort of response from the T - even when I sent a follow-up e-mail to the GM inquiring about what action was being taken.

And, my best guess is that the MBTA's response to all this will be to change all the approach signals to Beacon Junction to absolute stop and proceed, thus further slowing down the movement of trains for no logical reason. Remember, one of the contributing factors to the Adien Quinn crash was the fact that the train he hit was stopped due to a signal that had recently be changed to "absolute stop before proceeding".

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You're complaining about

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You're complaining about drivers blowing red lights, but in the same post you don't want any action done to slow down trains?

http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/fulltext/RAB1106.html. That's the NTSB report on the Quinn accident. The train was he crashed into was stopped due to traffic (Red Sox game night), not because of an "absolute stop before proceeding" signal. The signal that is now a absolute stop has always been there.

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With respect, you're wrong.

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The signal that the train Quinn hit was stopped at is the last 'regular block' signal westbound prior to the switches entering Park Street. It was converted from an automatic "green yellow red" signal to a red "absolute stop before proceeding" signal about one month before the crash.

And yes, the dispatcher was 'short turning' a game extra at Park Street at the time of the crash. However, had the signal in question not been converted from automatic operation to absolute stop, the train would have been one block closer to Park Street, meaning that Quinn may have had more time to react and, thus, might not have hit it at all.

As for the practice of setting signals to require operators to absolutely stop at all times, even where there isn't a train blocking the track and the operator can see that (as is the case with EVERY automatic block signal the T has converted to absolute stop and proceed between North Station and Kenmore), that is the perfect recipe to encourage operators to blow through red signals. This has been a contributing factor in a number of railroad and rapid transit accidents over the past several decades.

If it is determined it is necessary to use the signaling to enforce speed restrictions (for curves and entering stations and the like), the established and proper way to do this is with what is called in the transit industry as a "grade and time" signal. In such cases, the signal is normally kept at red, but is connected to a timed track circuit. If the approaching train is moving at or below the maximum set speed for the restriction, the signal will change from red to yellow. This minimizes delay to trains, and also preserves the safety aspect of a red signal - i.e. there is an actual obstruction you should stop for.

Grade and time signals are hardly new technology either - the first grade and time signals were employed on the New York City subway system when it first opened in 1904. And the wiring and labor to convert an automatic block signal to grade and time is exactly the same as to convert the same signal to absolute stop and proceed.

For the record, the NTSB report on the Quinn crash, apart from noting the signal aspects at the time of the crash and indicating there were no observed defects in the signal system, made no commentary on MBTA signal practices or protocols.

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The signal that the train

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The signal that the train Quinn hit was stopped at is the last 'regular block' signal westbound prior to the switches entering Park Street. It was converted from an automatic "green yellow red" signal to a red "absolute stop before proceeding" signal about one month before the crash.

And yes, the dispatcher was 'short turning' a game extra at Park Street at the time of the crash. However, had the signal in question not been converted from automatic operation to absolute stop, the train would have been one block closer to Park Street, meaning that Quinn may have had more time to react and, thus, might not have hit it at all.

The train was stopped at signal 746, which is the last red/yellow/green signal. The signal you're thinking of is signal 748 is the stop signal, which is the last signal before the switches at Park St. Even if the dispatcher had short turned a train, the Cleveland Circle train would still be allowed to enter Park St. on the opposite track while the train was short turned. However, you cannot assume whether or not he would have avoided collision if the train were a block further away. Perhaps he may have been more engrossed with his phone.

If it is determined it is necessary to use the signaling to enforce speed restrictions (for curves and entering stations and the like), the established and proper way to do this is with what is called in the transit industry as a "grade and time" signal. In such cases, the signal is normally kept at red, but is connected to a timed track circuit. If the approaching train is moving at or below the maximum set speed for the restriction, the signal will change from red to yellow. This minimizes delay to trains, and also preserves the safety aspect of a red signal - i.e. there is an actual obstruction you should stop for.

Grade and time signals are hardly new technology either - the first grade and time signals were employed on the New York City subway system when it first opened in 1904. And the wiring and labor to convert an automatic block signal to grade and time is exactly the same as to convert the same signal to absolute stop and proceed.

Almost all of these signals are in fact "grade and time" signals, with the exception of the signals prior to Boylston. If the operator were to actually slow to the posted limit, they would receive a permissive aspect by the time they arrived to the signal.

For the record, the NTSB report on the Quinn crash, apart from noting the signal aspects at the time of the crash and indicating there were no observed defects in the signal system, made no commentary on MBTA signal practices or protocols.

Actually, yes they did. They came to the conclusion that had there been a PTC (positive train control) system in place, there would be a drastic reduction of accidents. But with a PTC system in place, there would be reduced capacity in the central subway.

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All this transit stuff is

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All this transit stuff is really interesting! My questions always is, how do you know these details so well? Is it public information?

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Actually, while the last signal approaching

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most interlockings (such as the Government Center loop) are set as "grade and time" signals, the signals between North Station and Haymarket, as well as the signals entering Park Street after the switches, are not. Trains at these signals always have to come to a full stop before the signal will clear to a less restrictive aspect.

Thanks for the clarification regarding the NTSB report. However, the last automatic signal prior to the switches at Park Street, as opposed to the stop signal at the switches itself, was indeed changed from green-yellow-red to red absolute stop and proceed (it only clears to yellow) about one month prior to the Quinn crash. SInce the Quinn crash, they've made additional changes to the circuitry so that the interlocking signal at the Park Street switches will not clear until a train in either westbound berth is far enough down the platform to allow the signal beyond the switch to clear to double yellow - even if the entering train is going into the opposite berth. So, a Cleveland Circle train will not be cleared into Park Street if they are short-turning a Boston College train in the loop at the same time.

Lastly, you are correct about the NTSB's recommendations about adopting a PTC system for the Green Line. What I meant to say was that, apart from the exceptions I noted, the NTSB made no commentary on existing MBTA Green Line signal practice, such as the overuse of absolute stop and proceed signals.

To respond to issacg's comment: No, I do not work for the MBTA (nor have I ever). However, I've ben a lifelong rail and transit enthuasist, as well as a daily Green Line rider since 1978.

HOLY F*&K!!!!

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The MBTA paid this guy nearly 102K in 2012?!? There are airline pilots who make less than that, and they need a considerably larger skill set. And to have a driving record like his, yet still have public safety in his hands...I suspect it is time to have a very serious talk with his union and MBTA management!

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As we have been told

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Cops don't need to know anything. They can't be expected to actually think because thinking is wrong. They just have to be in charge.

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And the RMV

I mean, getting and keeping a license in MA is a total joke already. How about making sure that the people who do have licenses to drive various vehicles actually should be driving them?

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I think the tv news reported

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I think the tv news reported he had 20 infractions since 1984. That's one every year and a half. It's not unreasonable to rack up that many tickets if you drive a lot, particularly if you're in towns with strict traffic enforcement. Add being black and the increased frequency of getting stopped, and 20 or so infractions in 30 years is understandable. Keep in mind, you can get a speeding ticket for going 51 on Storrow Drive in light traffic (very easy to do), or stopping but not *fully* at a stop sign (also very easy to do, even for "letter of the law" types). Again, an easy ticket to get in light traffic with bored cops around.

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You are confused about what a

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You are confused about what a stop sign means? You seem to be conflating a yield sign (stop if there is something or someone in the way) with a stop sign (stop at the stop line regardless of whether you notice there is a car or a person nearby).

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Yes I am sure he was pulled

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Yes I am sure he was pulled over all of those times because he was black, not because he drives like an asshole. You can't be serious with that post.

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I've been driving since 1998

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I've been driving since 1998 and have had zero moving violations. It's not that hard.

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Me either.... Regardless of

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Me either.... Regardless of the time frame. Would I want an individual with that record operating heavy machinery, and transporting passengers? No, not at all!

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Great arguments for bicycle tickets going on driving record

If you all think bad behavior driving on roadway transfers to other modes like subway train, then we should make bicycle tickets count on driving licences because bad behavior on one also leads to bad behavior driving. Isn't that what most and the MBTA are saying here?

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How about

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When a cyclist crashes into a restaurant, like your old boy drinking buddy did in Arlington, and causes both structural damage and casualties, maybe JUST MAYBE somebody will give a flying fecal matter about your little rants about cyclists.

Got it?

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Not my drinking buddy

any more than Lance Armstrong is your steroids injecting buddy.

If someone flagrantly breaks road rules on a bicycle it seems obvious that they will break them with other vehicles. Either way they are disrespecting all the other road users.

Gee, Markkk

When they start actually and proportionally ticketing motorists for running red lights, blocking the box, ignoring crosswalks, etc. ... maybe I might agree with you.

Except for the noted difference in damage done by errant drivers and cyclists.

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