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North Station fail: Train falls off the rail

The MBTA is reporting various issues on the Haverhill and Newburyport/Rockport lines due to " a low speed upright derailment outside of North Station."



The T is a disaster but you have to admire their Minister of propaganda who comes up with the clever lines to describe the daily disasters that happen on the subways and commuter rail.

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An upright derailment would snafu the commute, but those on the train would barely notice it when it happens. A crane can fix this, with the only issue being getting a crane on site. Conversely, if the train derailed and rolled over, there would be injuries and most likely the train would have to stay where it was while investigators examined the scene.

Give the options of derailments, I'll take an upright one.

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Lord knows what happened, but from the pictures, it appears that something happened at an interlocking where some number of wheels of the locomotive came off the rails (although it may have happened upstream of it). The speeds there are relatively slow so it just sort of settled in to the track ballast (locomotives are not top-heavy so hard to tip over without some actual speed or force).

This is likely due to some bad track and the gauge spreading, so that the wheel falls within the gauge. Here's a video of a freight locomotive being rerailed. (in this case, the EMD SD-40-2 weighs significantly more than what the T runs.) It is rerailed simply by placing wood blocks strategically to support the rail and get the train back up, using a few pieces of scrap wood to have a 184-ton train lift itself. Not too bad!

This is akin to hitting a pothole and getting a flat tire. A pain to replace, but no lasting damage to your car, but it means the roadway needs a patch and, in the long term, a resurfacing. The bigger issue here is to figure out why the track gauge spread, and then fix that. Probably bad ties. This might take longer to repair, and could lead to some minor delays during the evening commute as the Haverhill and NewRockburyport lines share a single track.

Update: it sounds like the root cause of this was a derailment up by Reading Junction north of Sullivan, but the train didn't come to a stop until south of there. Maybe/possibly a broken rail there (at Reading Junction) which is why Haverhill service is suspended for the midday to go in and replace the track. So worse than a spread gauge, but still not bad because there were no injuries and only moderate disruptions to service. We'll see how much they can get done by the PM commute. Now, should i run over to Sullivan to see what I can see? (Yes, yes, I should.)

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Haverhill service isn't being suspended, it's just running via the Lowell Line and the Wildcat branch instead, at least according to a 10:15 AM T Alert.

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I ride the rails frequently. I found the video to be very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Gives me further appreciation of what the support crew people have to deal with. My ex-brother in law is a retired conductor for Metro-North Hudson Line. Difficult job- physical work involved and dealing with cranky people every day.
Considering everything, I think the T does a pretty good job, especially these support folks and mechanics who keep tit running day in and day out.

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-Delays and cancellations every day
-Short train sets are so full, passengers standing in the aisles and vestibules
-Fare is fair ticket checkers at north station combined with late boarding announcements and simultaneous rush hour train departures create dangerous boarding crowds
-Reduced schedules over the last ~5 years make for inconvenient commuting

Video of 5-10 Keolis/CR employees staring at the derailed train:


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I guess the Lowell Line saw some reductions of short turns like 352, but for the most part, schedules have been pretty static. Of course, that doesn't keep up with crowding …

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You don't often catch me defending Keolis but do expect them to throw their backs into it and reset the train?

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Or the Governor might have to come over to the scene and frown in person

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