Breda Breakdown

Question of the day: Why does the MBTA have schedules? (by way of Boston Common)

Many thanks to Eric Talbot for reminding me of the “dramatic derailment” of yet another Breda train this Sunday. I have been remiss in not blogging about it, considering that I saw the wreckage with my own eyes.

Veronica and I were at the MFA Sunday morning for the Art Deco Exhibit. Sometime after noon we made our way to the MFA stop on the E line to head back downtown. No train came for a while, but on the E line you think nothing of that during rush hour, never mind on a quiet Sunday in August. But then a woman walked down the platform telling people there had been a crash.

On the other branches of the Green Line, if the T breaks down or goes out of service for repairs, then the MBTA puts up signs and runs replacement buses. Free replacement buses. Not so on the E line. We wandered over to a nearby bus stop and waited for the 39 to show. The first bus was full—not surprising, since it was carrying all the displaced subway passengers. The driver let on a few folks, then shut the door in our faces.

The next 39 to come along had some space on it. We had to pay, and we spent most of the ride speculating about the route of the 39, where it might leave us, and what had happened to that corpse of a Breda car we’d passed at the Northeastern stop. It looked to me like the far side of the car had been shorn off—I had bought the “accident” story—but it turns out that it just derailed. All over the rails.

Take a look at that bottom picture [, same link as “the wreckage” above]. I’m surprised there was only one hospitalization. Imagine if we’d been standing on that platform at the time. There were little tourist kids at the MFA stop with us (not to mention my mother and a friend riding the T for the first time).

The stop pictured (Northeastern) is a really nice one. Most trolley stops are only a few feet wide, with (if you’re lucky) a low concrete barrier between you and a busy street (Comm. Ave, Beacon St., Huntington Ave.). Picture with me a Breda train derailing and scraping 25 people (or worse, students) off the platform into oncoming traffic at rush hour. It would be the end of the entire trolley system, and everyone would be taking the 39 or the 57 downtown from then on.

And none of it would have happened if we’d just bought the 100 new trains from Kinki Sharyo.

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