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Red Line train catches fire at Charles/MGH

Firefighters at Charles/MGH

The Boston Fire Department reports firefighters responded to the Charles/MGH Red Line station for a fire under the last car of an outbound train around 5:45 a.m.

The department reports passengers all got themselves off the train and that there were no injuries.

Although at first firefighters thought the fire was on the tracks, around 6:20 a.m., the fire began to reignite, on the bottom of the train itself. About five minutes later, firefighters discovered insulation on wiring on the bottom of the train was burning. After confirming the battery the wiring led to had been "deenergized," a BFD commander then instructed one crew to turn on a station standpipe to provide water to douse the flaming insulation. But no water came out of the standpipe - meant for such situations - and firefighters had to haul water cans, pressurized-water fire extinguishers, up from the ground level.

More photos from the scene.

The fire was on the underside of the last car.

The T shut power in both directions so firefighters could get on the tracks - but with BFD consent, briefly restarted power on the inbound side so the T could move a train with passengers on it that was stopped on the Longfellow Bridge to Park Street.

The Red Line is back running, more or less, but bypassing Charles/MGH, the MBTA says.

Around 8 a.m., Benjamin Chan complained:

Terrible and god awful communications by the MBTA this morning.

Twitter says service resumed but driver at Broadway just now said train is going all the way to Alewife. Like is it going express and not making all stops or skipping only MGH...like MBTA DO BETTER

Peter Dziedzic adds:

I (and others) had the same issue at Broadway. Looked like buses were going straight to Harvard. Asked if the bus was stopping at Park. Told no. So asked the bus is going direct? MBTA lady said “it’s making all Red Line stops”. So it was stopping at Park after all.

Anneli writes:

I waited over 20 minutes for the shuttle bus this morning with no information or updates. I was over 30 min late for my shift at the emergency room.

Other recent MBTA fires of note:

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Comments

The bad news T is not safe, clean or reliable. The good news is that when you are stuck in traffic on the Southeast expressway you can experience Boston's largest art gallery on the walls of the red line starting at Savin Hill station.

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Even the water pipes for use in case of fire didn't work? The crumbling infrastructure of the T is teetering on the edge of collapse and likely to kill someone sooner rather than later. Are they waiting for a lawsuit to truly bankrupt the MBTA?

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Maura Healey thinks she fixed years of neglect, underfunding, and underhiring by hiring Philip Eng and also...uh... hiring Philip Eng.

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No I haven't heard Governor Healey say she thinks she fixed years of the state punishing transit riders with incompetent management and lack of oversight. Can you put a link to where she said that? The Globe spent 8 years covering for Governor Baker and kept telling us it was for the good in the long run. As soon as he left they finally started telling the truth that the T was both necessary for greater Boston (and the state that relies on its taxes) and in terrible shape. I get you are angry that a woman is Governor and won't even call her Governor Healey, but show us where she said she fixed the T.

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Anon person you got the wrong guy, why would I be mad that a woman is governor? If you look at my previous posts on the ongoing catastrophe at the MBTA, you'll see I've repeatedly pilloried Baker for his possibly criminally corrupt management of the MBTA and the legislature for going along with it.

I judge GOVERNOR Maura Healey by her actions. She has done nothing to communicate that our system is in a state of collapse and needs a vast overhaul of funding, management, and staffing. She hasn't put a rep from the city of Boston on the governing board. Her new budget is business as usual, and in fact she's calling for tax cuts on the wealthy after voters approved the millionaires tax to help fund the MBTA.

A real leader would be banging the bully pulpit to save our public transit, but her actions say she thinks the T is fine.

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Opened in 2007

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This station isn't very old.

Why were the standpipes not working?

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Did they ever work? Was a contractor paid for work not completed to spec?

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I would bet that the answer is the same as with a lot of the T's physical assets: ridiculously insufficient maintenance. On the other hand, they found the money to remodel a lot of 10 Park Plaza over the past few years, so they can get things done when they really want to.

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Worked briefly at MassDOT and learned firsthand at how much wasteful spending those folks do. They’ll fix stuff if it affects them but don’t you dare ask them to care for the safety of us commoners…

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If we count rolling stock as infrastructure (which I would), the T's infrastructure has already killed someone. But I know what you mean. At this rate it seems like only a matter of time before we have a train burn down with passengers trapped inside, or at the bottom of a river.

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...and likely to kill someone sooner rather than later.

So we're NOT counting...
1) the man whose hand was shut in a red line car during April, 2022 & dragged to death?
2) the man who fell to death from a dilapidated staircase at JFK/UMass during September, 2021?

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I know some school districts used to have, or may still have Teach For America. I know New Orleans did.

Teachers in many cases would be given housing and qualify for their masters after teaching in a school system that was considered to be economically and socially distressed.

Perhaps the state could recruit some fresh out of college people with some management skills to work for the T and get paid, but also free housing in the Boston core in return.

Could you imagine letting some non-supply side economic MBA candidates loose on the T?

It can't hurt. Unless of course they get consumed in a fire at Charles MGH or worse a fire underground 1000 feet east of here.

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The T needs highly experienced, trustworthy, responsible, and accomplished managers and trades.

Those people want absolutely nothing to do with the T so they either quit or don't take the job.

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Sometimes optimism is a good thing.

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I have yet to see a problem that can be successfully solved by a brand-new MBA except "how do I advance my own career".

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and was counting on this station to be open. It's not a good idea to ride a bicycle to (or, more to the point, back home from) an eye appointment. At least I have the Green Line extension as a sort of alternative, though it requires more walking at each end of the trip.

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Ron,

you should just spring for an Uber after to go home in. Esp if you are having dilation or something where your vision distorts.

I wouldn't waste my time on the T or on a bike.

Sometimes you just gotta use a car, because its safer.

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taking the Red Line to and from Mass Eye & Ear. I even rode it home from a minor laser surgery last year. I have been quite glad that the T replaced the old, very inaccessible station with an ADA-compliant one in 2007.

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I have to have work done every year.. mostly testing to make sure I don't have a degenerative disease from other illnesses I have.

tbh its not even the ride or navigating.. its the lighting and lack of depth perception that get me. I just take a uber. I factor it in to the cost of the appointment.

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I see these private shuttles at Alewife all the time. Is there anything similar (a small shuttle service that goes into and out of Boston)? T is so dysfunctional I'd like to avoid it. Can't rely on rail. Can't rely on buses (bus is full and moves on, bus is out of service, or my bus app is telling me a phantom bus* is right in front of me).

*Are the T's own stats about service based on the same information that these apps pull? Cause that info is very unreliable.

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Get to work on time today?

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But no water came out of the standpipe

Standpipes are supposed to be tested. It's a requirement in commercial buildings that they be documented as working, with big fines resulting if they don't. Can it be the case that the T faces no such requirement? Or was the testing program fraudulent? I suppose there might be some legitimate reason for the pipe to fail, but neglect is the most obvious reason. If so, that is quite the indictment of both the MBTA and whatever regulatory scheme is in place to oversee adherence to fire codes.

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I agree that (a) neglect seems, all else being equal, to be the most likely explanation, and (b) it's quite the indictment of the T if so. If this turns out in fact to be a case of neglect, I guess we'll just put that indictment on the pile here with the others.

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All of the Publicly funded Transportation in MA except for Logan is substandard

When you need water -- standpipe -- its not there
When you don't need water -- leaks in T Stations, Leaks in the Tunnels -- its there

When you drive or walk under a ceiling, overpass, elevated highway -- stuff falls
When you walk, bike or drive on a bridge, road, rail track -- there are holes, gaps, broken rails

and sometimes as in the case of the stairs and the ceiling of the Ted -- falling or collapsing stuff kills

projects by the Mass DOT -- are invariably late and over budget -- meanwhile the work is shoddy and substandard

Logan seems the exception -- Why???

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Did you think the T's colors were arbitrary? Bwa ha ha ha! Nope. It's a secret code, revealed here for the first time:

Red line: red because it's often on fire.

Green line: it makes you green with envy of Tokyo (where the trains actually work).

Blue line: It makes you feel blue, but what can you do?

Orange line: Orange because it's sour, like citrus. (OK, this one's pretty awful, somebody help me here!)

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Orange you glad it's not as bad as the others?
Wait, it is.

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Orange you glad you left three hours early to get that mile and a half?

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…did anyone jump off the bridge?

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I really hope the Feds are keeping your "The T" section bookmarked and checking it daily. As someone in one of the other threads said, they've reported incidents to the T and the T doesn't reply back, so I'm sure much of this news is not being communicated "officially" to the Feds' safety monitoring team. This site is probably the best resource to monitor exactly how hazardous and precarious the T has become.

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From the picture, with the end of the platform to the left, and the platforms at Charles/MGH on either side, this would have to be the first car of the train.

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That's the picture BFD posted. But on the radio, it was clear it was the last car on the train where the fire was.

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I walked by this morning around 730 walking over the salt + pepper bridge heading into Kendall square and there was 9 t workers wearing yellow vests all with their arms crossed just looking at the train

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Many many years ago, a small fire erupted on the outbound tracks at Charles MGH. We all stood there on the platform wondering what would happen (this was well before the days of “see something, say something”), until a train approached. The driver stopped just short of the fire, opened the front door of the cab, and efficiently put out the fire with an extinguisher. We all applauded, he pulled the train into the station, and we proceeded with our commute.

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Nothing to see here folks…

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