Fitchburg Line train plows into car in Lincoln; driver escaped shortly before

Around 11:10 p.m. at the Old Sudbury Road crossing.

At 11:41 p.m., Jason Martel, a passenger on the train, wondered when the train crew would tell riders why they were just sitting there:

Any information on what they are going to be doing with us on the train? They still haven't told us we hit something

At 12:36 a.m., he updated:

They are attaching the next train to us to get us moving


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Classic "car broke down on

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Classic "car broke down on the tracks" situation?

Glad that all are okay. Smart move by the driver.

lincoln resident here...

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I live close to another rr crossing in Lincoln and the gates have been all messed up recently. they were going down when trains weren't approaching. they then shut them off and had MBTA employees stopping cars manually when trains were approaching. That lasted like 2 days and was about 2 weeks ago or so


Not the issue here

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They functioned perfectly and warned the driver to GTFO!

The car was not able to move.

You must work for the MBTA.

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You must work for the MBTA. Getting back to the Lincoln resident's point, the rr crossing malfunctioned system needs to be fixed still. Do taxpayers/riders need to throw more money out the window to fix the same old problems that are happening every day because of broken systems? My question does not include the Red Line as we all know it's too far gone. Hey Adam, I'll check in with later around rush hour to read about the next epic fail of the MBTA. Keep the rhymes coming!

Mechanical failure

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Mechanical failure.

Sometimes cars just die. Timing belt goes. Alternator dies. It happens.

That's a good question, Ron.

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If the car really did break down and stall when it was right on the tracks, or if the gate really was malfunctioning, that's a real danger to both the driver of the car, and to the people on the train, including the train's engineer.

If, on the other hand, the gate was functioning perfectly and the driver of the car was trying to see if he could make it before the gates were completely down, then that was the fault of the driver, and an act of irresponsible stupidity that endangered himself and the people on the train, unnecessarily.

How could someone trying to

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How could someone trying to beat the gates result in the car getting stuck on the tracks, enough in advance that the driver could get out?

Unless things changed recently, there aren't 4-quadrant gates, so the exit is always clear.

Even if there were, you can easily drive through a lowered gate. It's designed to pivot out of the way. But maybe drivers don't know this, and stop on the tracks if a gate lowers in front of them.

Follow the links

The person wasn't trying to beat the gates - they had already called 911 to say they were stuck on the tracks.

Why do we assume it stalled?

The more common failure, at least at the crossing by me in Somerville, is people who don't know the area well turning onto the tracks in the dark when they mean to turn onto Ivaloo about 50' further up the street. Could the driver have been told "turn left" by their GPS to try to get onto the Great Road and instead ended up stuck straddling the tracks?

Short list of reasons that cars stall or die suddenly

1. out of gas
2. broken alternator belt
3. broken timing belt
4. clogged fuel line
5. electrical system failure
6. alternator failure
7. head gasket failure

I'm sure there must be others. I had a car that stalled and stopped that suddenly when the fuel pump blew itself apart - a fairly new car, still under warranty.

And, if any of these happen on train tracks? Ouch.

Clearly the train came out of nowhere.

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Clearly the train came out of nowhere. We need to confine trains to certain areas and routes so that their movement can be more predictable to helplessly distracted drivers. Let's call these routes "tracks." Just spitballing here, but if we really want to make these "death trains" more predictable, we can also have the train run on a set "schedule." Perhaps we can also have them emit some sort of horn like noise to announce their presence?


The bottom line is this

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The bottom line is this person obviously had no situational awareness and chose to blindly follow her GPS blather. It's a railroad crossing with gates and flashers that are pretty hard to ignore even when they aren't activated.

I will say that this crossing and the one (RT117/Great Road) just west of it seem to be a magnet for GPS related incidents. One overlooked factor may be the small connecting road between those two parallel to the tracks on the inbound side. Have little doubt the GPS is being "fooled" by it in some way.

When GPS came into vogue years ago, there were two or three GPS related incidents at these crossings. Apparently, it continues to this day.