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Man hit and killed by Fairmount Line train in Hyde Park

Around 10:30 a.m. where the Fairmount Line crosses the Neponset River between West Street and Truman Parkway.

Service on the line was halted so firefighters could extricate the victim, hit by an outbound train. Transit Police report foul play is not suspected.

The train that hit him had 13 passengers onboard. The MBTA dispatched a bus to pick them up after they walked through some woods to Truman Parkway.

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Comments

Trespassing on the tracks is a major problem on the rail lines. I don't understand why the MBTA and Keolis ignore the trespassing issues on the tracks.

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The Transit Police cannot patrol every mile of track.

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Baker & Pollack have reduced maintenance and transit police funding to dangerous levels. The amount of track fires and train fatalities has ticked up year by year.

The commuter rail system is 398 miles long (though with some overlap.) How many police officers would be needed to cover all of that to the extent that there would be zero trespassers on the line? Probably more than Baker inherited from Patrick, or Patrick inherited from Romney. The reality is that these things, unfortunately, happen and have been happening going back to the 19th century.

But hey, if you've got the data, I'm willing to see it.

People illegally walk on the tracks and you blame the MBTA and Keolis? I can promise you a conductor's worst nightmare is someone walking in the path of their train. Be it commuter rail, subway or Amtrak. They cannot stop their trains in time. Why not blame the culture of stupidity that permeates our society, or the "woke" social justice warriors that make it impossible to address trespassing issues.

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Seriously, do people like you just sit around and brainstorm ways to make everything political? Your world must be so small.

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I won’t blame Rachel Rollins because trespassing on the tracks was ALWAYS dismissed at arraignment by Dan Conley’s people, treated like it was a complete waste of their time.

What else besides fencing can the T/Keolis do? If people are determined to get on the tracks they’ll find a way.

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You can't fence out stupid.

I was listening to this on the BFD radio. The initial dispatch sent BFD to the end of West Street in Hyde Park for access but that proved to be somewhat difficult. Crews then went over to Truman Highway where there was apparently better access. There was some confusion regarding whether orders had been issued to stop the trains which also impeded access. The chief on scene ordered all members to remain off the tracks and remain to the side at all times. The command chief on site also ordered "power cut" which is a standard order even though the Fairmount line is not electrified.

Access seemed difficult for the rescue teams per the radio exchanges and would involve cutting locks or cutting out sections in fencing which are in place. There is no information available regarding where access to the tracks was made by the victim but it is not that far from the open and accessible passenger platform at Fairmount Station, maybe about 1500 feet or so.

Why the person was walking there is also unknown but the wooded area abutting the tracks is a known congregating spot for drinking and other activities that want to be out of the public eye. Not that far inbound from the strike area is a burned-out building that was once a part of the paper mill on the river and which has had several fires that had mysterious and unknown origins. That's because it is a hang-out spot.

Fences are in place but the type of fences that can be used are subject to a combination of rules at the city, state, and even federal level which govern what kind of fence is allowed (or mandated). Railroad nationwide have trespass access issues. They raise a fence or repair it only to have holes cut in it again by those bent on maintaining their short cuts. There are limitations to available transit police and where they can patrol.

One of the biggest problems associated with rail accidents involving pedestrians and motorists are those who fail to pay attention and follow the rules. YouTube is loaded with videos of cars and trucks being hit, that willfully went through active crossings with the gates down. It also has a number of "close call" videos of people who were oblivious to their surroundings due to any number of human faults, including blaring headphones in their ears that prevented them from hearing what was coming at them. There are also those showing people just walking into crossings without ever looking both ways as many have been taught (hopefully) over time. There are now cities considering legislation to make it illegal to use a cell phone while crossing the street due to people being hit.

There is a limitation to what can be legislated or imposed to prevent accidents. At some point you have to accept that you cannot fix poor human habits and decisions.

Not addressed here (much) is the trauma felt by the train crew in knowing that they hit someone. This does not impact just the train operator. When an accident like this happens the entire train crew is immediately relieved of duty and have to submit to substantial questioning by local and federal authorities regarding what they saw, heard, or learned as a result of the accident. They also undergo immediate drug and alcohol testing. It can be weeks before they will be allowed to return to the job.

The passengers also may have trauma since knowing that someone was just killed can impact those just present or nearby to the incident, even though they had nothing to do with it. Death impacts different people in different ways.

And not visited here is the possibility that this was a suicide. Suicide by train is a growing phenomena worldwide and one that the USDOT only recently started to instigate in depth. It can take weeks and even months to determine (or guess in this case) if this was just an accident that was preventable, or a willful act to end human suffering. We may never know.

Fences only delay things of this nature. They do not prevent it.

https://www.volpe.dot.gov/rail-suicide-prevention

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Beside the weekly tragedies on the tracks, here are several reasons why they need to be patrolled
1) Graffiti artists walk the tracks and paint murals costing the authority millions to clean up
2) Vandals place debris on the tracks which could cause a derailment
3) Homeless camps are all along the right of way
4) Metal thieves steal copper and other precious metals
5)Signals, gates and the tracks are easy targets for sabotage.

The Transit Police unions realizing these problems exist proposed legislation which would merge them with the larger State Police to address these safety and security issues. The question is why did the MBTA and Keolis oppose the legislation?

Because they’ll lose complete control over their police force

Also, the Transit Police are much like a college police department. Being too proactive results in too many statistics that are “bad for business”.

"Why aren't the cops every where at once to stop this from happening?" -That is a hysterical over-reaction to a tragedy. No police force can be everywhere at once. "Oh yeah, well they need to be there or there will be derailments and millions in damage!" - A Very Dramatic addition to the convo but we are used to that around here.