BOSTON (AP/WPRI) — A six-car commuter train without an operator and with 50 passengers on board left a suburban Boston station, traveled through four other stations without stopping before it was disabled, transit officials said Thursday.
No passengers were injured, and the possibility of tampering is being investigated, said Frank DePaola, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, who called it a “highly troubling incident.”
“Passenger safety is the highest priority for the MBTA and this highly troubling incident is under investigation by Transit Police detectives,” DePaola said in a statement.
An initial investigation indicated that a safety device within the train’s cab may have been tampered with.
“This train was tampered with and it was tampered with by somebody who know what they were doing,” said Gov. Charlie Baker during an interview on Boston Herald Radio Thursday morning, adding that he couldn’t go into detail because the investigation was ongoing.
An FBI spokesperson told The Boston Herald the agency is aware of the incident and has been in contact with MBTA Transit Police.
MBTA operations disabled the train and brought it to a stop by cutting off power to the electrified third rail, according to the statement.
The Red Line train departed Braintree Station — the southernmost stop of the line — shortly after 6 a.m. without an operator and traveling north toward Boston, the statement said.
Transit personnel boarded the train after it was stopped and drove it north to the JFK/UMass stop, where passengers disembarked. The train was taken out of service and brought to a maintenance facility in Boston, where an investigation is under way, according to Joe Pesaturo, spokesman for the transit agency.
Passengers are among those being interviewed, the T said.