Girl was dragged by a green line train at Riverside!..

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Postby DelawareHudson » Sun Apr 04, 2004 9:30 am

Joyce called 911 from her cell phone.

I admit to playing "armchair lawyer," but with the knowledge that this girl had a cell phone, I would say she demonstrated poor judgement in pulling the emergency lever instead of calling for assistance first. In fact, if I were the T, I might even go so far as to push the point that there was no actual emergency, and that pulling that lever was as wrong as if it had been done on a train in the subway.

I will however, also admit that to the average person, being "trapped" in a train might cause a certain level of panic, although if I had been in her shoes I probably would have reacted in a much different manner (I would genuinely enjoy a ride around the yard at Riverside, but that's me :wink:).

All of that being said, I agree that once that lever is pulled, the car should not be able to be moved until the lever is reset, and even then, a manual shutdown and restart of the whole train should be necessary to reset everything.

Postby NIMBYkiller » Sun Apr 04, 2004 3:01 pm

Now that I think about it more, and now that I know she had her cell wit her, she is the idiot. The MBTA employee does deserve some punishment though....
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Postby fm535 » Sun Apr 04, 2004 6:50 pm

If I awoke on a train, and it was not moving, and I saw that I was at the terminal with the doors stopped, I think I would pull the lever before I tried calling 911, and stepping onto a surface that was not a normal platform, would have stepped cautiously and slowly in the dark.

I think in the absence of knowing what to properly do and in somewhat of a panic, pulling a release handle tends to be less embarassing then to have the local or MBTA police to show up after a call goes into 911: "Help, I 'm trapped in a trolley and I can't get out!" Only Clara Peller could have said it right!

Postby Robert Paniagua » Sun Apr 04, 2004 7:38 pm

That's right, fm535. If I were on the Red Line at the Braintree Station vicinity, and wound up falling asleep on board, I would probably end up at Cadigan yard just a 1/2 mile down the road. In that case, I would say, "Holy $|-|17", and I would then throw the brake ring and lever, which would also unlock the cab door and I could enter the cab, and exit down the front bulkhead door from the cab, and then find the gate out at Cadigan. That would lead to Pearl Street, and then I would be safe there, since its a busy area, and located near washington Street, although I would probably end up forgetting about my car though! :-)

Also, I guess that girl may not be able to use her right arm again, she may have to be only the left arm available. I just hope she wasn't a right handed one........
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Postby CSX Conductor » Sun Apr 04, 2004 7:58 pm

Kind of ironic nowadays that she didn't have a cell phone like everyone else on the T to call for help.
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Postby queenlnr8 » Mon Apr 05, 2004 2:31 am

"Before I could completely get off the train, the doors slammed shut on my left leg," Joyce said. "I was terrified."

Slammed?? I don't think that I have ever been on a trolley where the doors slammed shut.

Plus, couldn't she have just ridden the trolley back around the yard to the platforms??

Postby JayZ » Mon Apr 05, 2004 12:05 pm

YOU could have ridden the Trolley around the yard back to the platform. You forget that not everyone is a railfan. 99% of the public has no idea what happens to the trolleys once they go into the yard - they never even think about it. A girl who had woken up in a silent trolley in the middle of the yard would most surely panic. She doesn't have the slightest idea, she doesn't know if that trolley is going to move at all for the next few hours (and it could have been so, by the way, if it was a time when that particular trolley was taken out of service and parked).

As for everything else that was said in the matter of the argument about trainlining or non-trainlining doors, about how she opened or didn't open the doors properly... I think all of it is not that important. What IS important is that THE TRAIN STARTED MOVING. Never mind if the door was open or it got closed by the operator in the first car, still, THE TRAIN STARTED MOVING with an either open or partially closed door. That should NOT have happened! The operator of the first car should not have gotten a green light, and if the green light is not there - the train shouldn't budge. But it did. So something here IS technically wrong, weather it was a malfunction in that particular car or a design flaw of the Type 7, but something was wrong. And the T should take it into account and take care of it!
Whatever the girls motives are, and however her (alleged) lawsuit might be unjustified, but that one aforementioned thing is clear. That train should not have moved.

Postby typesix » Mon Apr 05, 2004 2:47 pm

Trolley doors slamming closed are common on the T.
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Postby jrc520 » Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:21 pm

Nope. It's impossible for the doors to slam. They may close in your face, but they do not slam, as the normal connotation means. They are air closed, so you really can't just shut them hard.
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Postby typesix » Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:35 pm

Sure they can slam close. I see it happen on many cars which indicates the door motor needs adjusting. Ever ride PCCs when they were still on the Green with slamming doors? The slamming door would shake the car slightly and was very common condition.
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Postby jrc520 » Mon Apr 05, 2004 4:04 pm

nope. I was born the year they took them out of service. I have been on the PCC cars though, and they can slam. I have never had a LRV, T7 or T8 door slam though, and I ride alot. Maybe I'm just lucky :-p
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Postby DelawareHudson » Mon Apr 05, 2004 6:12 pm

JayZ, I'm with you on the point that the train should not have been moveable. I saw an operator use that red handle on a Type 7 when I first came to Boston a few years ago, before I was knowledgeable at all about the T, so I wasn't looking that carefully. The reason I mention it is that I don't recall the train going into Emergency when he released the door. I don't know what the manual says, but I got the distinct impression that those red handles merely release the door from the opening/locking pneumatic system and allow the doors to swing freely. If so, then the part of the door mechanism that normally prevents the car from moving might not engage, and the loose door would merely show up as an idiot light on the board. For some reason, I seem to recall that if a door won't close properly, those handles can be pulled to release the stuck door from the mechanism, and the train can be moved.

I am only taking an educated guess here, as I am not familiar with how those release handles are linked to the braking system. Something allowed that train to move, though, but it sounds like according to the book, that can't happen. Wouldn't be the first time the book was wrong, though. If the release handles do not engage the brakes, as I suspect, then an Emergency trip relay of sorts would need to be retrofitted into the handle control. If this is the case, the T should probably make the upgrade, if only for liability reasons.

I am also sure that if my little theory is way off base, than someone who knows more about it than I can shed some more light on the question.

Postby BC Eagle » Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:45 pm

The release handles do engage the breaks. A few years ago I was on a train inbound pulling out of Kenmore Square. There was a group of highschool kids acting generally loud and annoying. As the train was entering the tunnel, it came to a very sudden stop, causing several people standing to lose their balance. At the same time, there was a loud beeping alarm coming from the operator's booth. The operator made a very angry announcement saying he knew who pulled the handle, and that if they did it again, he'd have them taken off the train at the next stop. I saw the kids, push the handle back into place, and the operator returned the train to motion. Now I believe the beeping stopped when the kids returned the handle into place, so if the girl did only partially pull it, perhaps it fell back into place on its own, allowing the train to move. However, if the door was open at all, this shouldn't have happened and needs to be corrected.

On another note, I have definitely seen the doors slam on the Type 7s. From time to time, I'll be on a train where they seem to close especially forcefully, and usually when this happens, they're much louder as well. In fact, last year while waiting for a Riverside train at Copely, I saw a girl get her hair caught in the door, and the train pulled away with a large amount of her hair outside of the train. The poor girl had to keep her head flat against the door all the way to Hines.
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Postby DelawareHudson » Tue Apr 06, 2004 7:26 am

BC Eagle,

Thanks for the clarification on the handle. The only thing in that case then that needs to be modified is to not allow the train to move again until the train has been "rebooted," much as some trains seem to require for no apparent reason from time to time.

Postby typesix » Wed Apr 07, 2004 3:07 pm

LRV and T7 doors can slam, though not as hard as PCC doors, I ridden enough of them. T8s I have ridden very little. Like I stated before, the door motors(or engines) can be adjusted to gently close the doors. The emergency door release handles on LRVs do not dump the brakes. There is a separate switch near the door release for that.
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