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Train service shut due to burglary suspect on the tracks between Roslindale, Hyde Park

Franklin and Needham Line service was shut for about 20 minutes as Boston Police pursued a burglary suspect who kept running across the train tracks south of Canterbury Street around 3 p.m. Officers swarmed both sides of the tracks for the suspect, who eventually tried to make good his escape through wooded yards on the Roslindale side - only to be caught by Transit Police officers who had arrived to help out.



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Those tracks are on the other side of the hill from Canterbury Street.

Now, Stoughton and Attleboro are another story altogether.

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Because all those backed-up Franklin Line trains kept the Needham Line from moving?

It is possible, though, there was another police action that was preventing the Needham Line trains from moving ...

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Trains do a sort of dance that is based on speed and time. If a certain train does not reach a certain location by a certain time, especially of changing tracks is required, then the rest have to stop like falling dominoes.

So if any of the trains on the NEC coming north had to switch over at Forest Hills, then if they were stopped, the Needham trains would stop as well.

Now, next question is why not radio ahead and tell the Needham train to go. Well it isn't as easy as it sounds. Lots of paperwork at dispatch. Moving a train out of the pre-determined order is like trying to wave off a flight trying to land at Logan. It's actually complicated.

Now don't blame the MBTA... blame the FRA and STSB and USDOT. They make the rules. And if the rules get broken It's a federal crime and no one is doing federal time because your train is stuck someplace.

I'm actually serious here.

If you locomotive operator "times out" with too many hours on the work clock, he is supposed to stop the train where it is and wait for a replacement. If you are lucky, he stops at the station BEFORE he times out. If he times out along the route he is not allowed to stay at the throttle to the next station. That gets him/her in trouble and can get them fired. Happens all the time on long distance trains out west. You're lucky in the city.

Time for Bostonians and the rest to get some understanding on how these things work. It's not pretty but it will help people understand the why of things. You still won't like it but that's how it goes.

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I'm SHOCKED Boston PD gave credit for the catch to the T, very out of character. A good job by all!!

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