35 taken to hospital after two trolleys collide at Boylston MBTA station

Rescue workers escorted a man with a head injury after the crash.
Rescue workers escorted a man with a head injury after the crash.Credit: Eric Moskowitz/Globe Staff

A Green Line trolley leaving Park Street Station rear-ended another trolley that was standing at the platform of Boylston Station shortly before noon today, injuring 35 people, including nine who were immobilized with possible head or neck injuries, authorities said.

The most common injuries were bruises and cuts, Boston EMS officials said. The crash was described as a “shocking impact” by one witness, but officials said none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

“There was one train on the platform, a two-car train, and another train, a two-car train coming into the station, made contact with the rear of the vehicle on the platform,” said Joseph O’Connor, superintendent-in-chief of the MBTA Transit Police.

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He said the cars did not derail and there was no visible damage to them, suggesting that the trolley had not been traveling fast when it rolled into the station.

“[We] don’t know what the speed was, but by initial indications of the types of damage or visual damage it doesn’t look like it was a high-speed impact,” he said. The MBTA is investigating the crash.

The operator of the moving trolley was a 46-year-old man who has been with the T since 2006. He has no accidents on his record. He had started his shift at 11 a.m., said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.

Rescue workers converged on the station at 11:53 a.m., the fire department said in an official tweet. A triage operation was set up on the sidewalk outside the station to evaluate the injured passengers.

A Globe reporter arriving at the scene saw one person being rolled in a stretcher to an ambulance, others being escorted to a nearby MBTA bus to be checked out, and one man with a bloody shirt being escorted by rescue workers as he held a cloth to his head.

Witness Emily Frachtling, an Emerson College senior who boarded the moving trolley at Park Street, said that when it hit the trolley at the platform it was a “shocking impact.”

She also said she didn’t believe her trolley had braked before the crash. “We did not slow down from Park Street to Boylston and it hit the train,” she said.

“It was just mostly people kind of yelling out in shock and afterwards everyone’s faces were just like, ‘What just happened?’” she said, adding that people in at least her car appeared to be all right.

Witness Elijah Clark Ginsberg said the first E Line trolley was stopped and the doors were open to allow passengers access. When the collision took place, he saw one man get knocked out of the door onto the concrete platform, ending up face down.

He said the volume of passenger traffic was light to moderate. Shortly after the crash, some passengers got off the cars and left the station. Others appeared shocked but had no obvious physical injuries, he said.

“No one seemed really injured except for that one guy, but everyone obviously looked really shocked and kind of terrified,” said Clark Ginsberg, who is studying marketing at Emerson. “It was just the sound of metal crashing together. It was not immediately obvious what it was.”

Two other Emerson students, Tessa Roy and Elliot Friar, observed the scene unfold from their dorm room overlooking the station on Boylston Street. “I normally hear sirens often, but I looked out [my window] and saw hordes of ambulances and fire trucks coming down Boylston,” Roy said. “Once they roped off the area, I knew something had happened.”

Firefighters working at the crash scene (Boston Fire Department Photo)

Friar said there were numerous emergency personnel outside the station, and their work looked very organized.

“There was a man being evaulated outside of our window. He looked very shaken,” Friar said. “They had to help him sit down, but we couldn’t see if he had any serious injuries.”

The students said they saw people being rolled out on stretchers or wearing neck braces.

The crash forced the station to close for several hours. It had reopened by midafternoon.

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