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Cause of Green Line derailment was not mechanical, according to MassDOT

Passengers waited at the Fenway stop for service and information after a Green Line train derailed Saturday.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff/Globe Staff

Preliminary findings from the investigation into Saturday’s MBTA Green Line derailment that led to 10 people being hospitalized indicated the cause was not a mechanical or infrastructure issue, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation said in a statement Sunday.

Investigators have interviewed the trolley’s 62-year-old operator, who suffered a leg injury and bruises in the incident, according to the statement released by MassDOT spokeswoman Lisa Battiston but no details were released about what he told officials.

Around 11 a.m. Saturday, a single-car D-Line train carrying about 150 passengers derailed on the outbound tracks between Kenmore and Fenway stations.

After the train derailed, passenger Bryan Marden told the Globe Saturday the vehicle struck a subway tunnel, and some people on board fell to the floor.


Boston firefighters carried at least six injured people away from the train, while the other passengers walked through the tunnel to the Fenway stop, according to officials.

Although some of the injuries were serious, none were life threatening, said Firefighter Brian Alkins, a Boston Fire Department spokesman, during an interview Saturday.

Steve Poftak, the MBTA’s general manager, told reporters Saturday that about 500 people on other trains behind the derailed trolley were also forced to evacuate their trains due to the derailment.

“Obviously, this is not the service we want to run,” Poftak said Saturday afternoon. “Our first priority here at the MBTA is safety [and] we are going to conduct a full investigation into this derailment.”

The MBTA implemented bus service between Kenmore and Cleveland Circle on the C-Line, as well as Kenmore and Fenway on the D-Line following the incident. Service was restored early Sunday morning, following “robust testing of the area,” including test trains and inspections of track and signal infrastructure, the MassDOT statement said.

The derailed train was removed from the area and taken to a maintenance facility to be “thoroughly investigated and inspected,” according to the statement.


“Preliminary findings indicate the cause of the incident was not a mechanical or infrastructure issue, though the confirmed cause of this incident continues to be under investigation and requires thoroughness, focus, and time,” the statement said.

The incident will be discussed during Monday’s meeting of the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board, according to MassDOT.

Among the riders on the derailed train was Devon Daggett, 26, of Bellingham, who said in an interview Sunday that he suffered two cuts to his face and bruises on his leg after he was thrown from his seat when the train left the tracks.

“I was like, ‘This is the moment I was going to die,’ ” Daggett said he recalled thinking during the derailment.

Daggett landed on another passenger nearby, but neither of them was seriously injured. Dust kicked up in the tunnel made it hard to breathe, and he remembers coughing a lot, he said.

“My lungs still hurt from it,” he said.

Once the train came to a halt, it was about 30 seconds before its doors opened and passengers could start exiting, he said. The most seriously injured passenger he saw was a man who was not moving, and lying on the floor of the train, with several other people surrounding him, Daggett said.

He faulted the MBTA for not taking the names of people who were on the train, and said the agency should have reached out to him and the other passengers. But he is glad he escaped the accident without further injury.


“At this point, I’m just glad I’m okay,” Daggett said.

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.