Forty commuter rail trains on almost every line out of South Station were either delayed or replaced with bus service after a train suffered mechanical issues this afternoon, just before rush hour, according to commuter rail officials.
A train on the Franklin line broke down at an interlocking juncture point just outside South Station at about 4:40 p.m., said Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad spokesman Scott Farmelant.
The train was pushed back into the station, repaired, and back on its way after about 60 minutes. However, because it broke down at a point where four tracks lead into one and then cross into several other tracks, that train caused residual delays running well into the night.
A total of 37 other trains on the Franklin, Fairmount, Needham, Greenbush, Providence/Stoughton, Framingham/Worcester, and Kingston/Plymouth lines experienced delays ranging from anywhere between six minutes and 59 minutes.
The 5:10 p.m. outbound train on the Fairmount line was replaced with bus service, as was the 5:46 p.m. inbound train.
“It was clearly a very inopportune place for the train to be having an issue,” Farmelant said. “The trains are in a relatively compact infrastructure system, and are highly synchronized. When one piece has a problem, it impacts other pieces of the system.”
Adding to the chaos at South Station, the Red Line was experiencing at least 15- to 20- minute delays due to a train that was disabled between the Porter Square station and the Davis Square station at about 6:40 p.m., said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.
Crews were unable to move the disabled train for more than an hour, Pesaturo said.
Farmelant could not disclose the causes of the commuter rail train's mechanical issue. Although he also could not give exact numbers, he said that because the delays took place during rush hour, a significant amount of commuters were affected.
“This could not have happened at a worst time or at a worst place,” he said.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more