Two MBTA trains have derailed in a week. Politicians are condemning the service as ‘unacceptable.’

The MBTA says it will hire an outside investigator to probe all derailments over the last two years following the Red Line incident at JFK/UMass station.

06/11/2019 Boston   Ma-A Red Line train derailed at JFK-Umass T stop during morning commute.Commuters line up to take buses.  Jonathan Wiggs GlobeStaffReporter:Topic:train derailment
A Red Line train derailed at the JFK/Umass T stop during the Tuesday morning commute, prompting travelers to take shuttle buses. –Jonathan Wiggs / The Boston Globe

Elected officials are calling for action after a Red Line train derailed during the Tuesday morning commute, marking the second time in a week that an MBTA train has left the tracks while in service.

After the train derailed at JFK/UMass station just after 6 a.m., commuters were left with the option of using the commuter rail or taking shuttle buses between North Quincy and Park Street. According to The Boston Globe, the shuttle buses were snarled in street traffic, with some trips taking several hours, while passengers looking for a ride on Lyft faced surge pricing. 

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference that shuttle buses would continue to run between North Quincy and Broadway, as well as between Ashmont and Broadway, through the evening commute (Update: Service was restored shortly before 5 p.m.). He said there would also be a “higher level of service” on the commuter rail lines, offering stops at JFK/UMass, Quincy Center, and Braintree.  


The derailment caused both significant damage and significant delays, he said.

The latest service disruption follows a Saturday derailment on the Green Line near Kenmore that injured at least 10 people. It also comes ahead of a planned fare hike across the MBTA starting July 1 — timing which did not go unnoticed by passengers and politicians alike in their criticisms of the transit system.

“It is unconscionable that the [MBTA] is raising fares for a broken service,” Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said on Tuesday. “I am a vocal public transit advocate, but everybody & their dog knows the service itself is a mess. We’ve got to do way better & we have no business charging more.”

Boston Mayor Marty called the derailments “unacceptable.”

“We need answers, solutions & more funding, and we need it now,” he said.

Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley pointed to the financial impacts of a derailment on commuters, while his colleagues Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell called for new investment and leadership at the transit agency.

“Don’t need to wait for investigations to be done: it’s not working & needs to change,” Wu wrote.

Poftak said Tuesday that the two derailments are “wholly unrelated.” The MBTA will be hiring a third party to do an assessment of all derailments that have occurred across the system over the last two years, he said.


According to Poftak, Tuesday’s derailment was the fourth to occur across all services in 2019.

“I want a fresh set of eyes on this to make sure we’re not missing something,” he said. 

The general manager said he understood the frustration of commuters, but sought to assure passengers that he uses the system every day and believes it’s safe.

“We hear very clearly and we understand very clearly that this situation with these derailments are not acceptable, and we are taking steps to address that,” he said. 

Watch the full press conference below: