Red Line Tunnel Fires

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

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

Red Line Tunnel Fires

Postby jake1966 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:35 pm

I've been trying to find information on 2 fires that happened on the Red Line back in 1973 with no luck. Anyone know if there are any reports from them? I tried the online DOT library catalog which didn't help. There was probably something back in the Transportation Library, but who knows now.
User avatar
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:32 pm
Location: Somerville, MA

Re: Red Line Tunnel Fires

Postby sixflagscoasters » Sat Oct 08, 2016 3:37 pm

I found this searching google:

Don't know if it helps any.
Posts: 271
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 7:28 pm

Re: Red Line Tunnel Fires

Postby The EGE » Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:33 pm

January 2, 1973: Electrical arc causes a fire on a Bluebird between Broadway and South Station. Three MBTA employees lift all 200 passenger from the train to the tunnel; they then take refuge in a stalled Silverbird further down the tunnel. No serious injuries of deaths, but firefighting was delayed by the need to drag hoses for half a mile through the tunnel.

February 6, 1973: Another electrical fire on a Bluebird near South Station. One dead of smoke inhalation - 74-year-old Arthur Rotch of Milton - and 94 hospitalized.

The fires were believed to be caused by faulty third rail shoes on the Bluebird (the 1963-built 01400 series cars). After the two incidents, the MBTA made a number of improvements. Cab radios were added to the Bluebirds (the first fire was only reported to dispatch when passengers on foot reached the Silverbird), water mains and emergency telephones installed in the tunnels, emergency exits tested and clearly marked, etc.

I can send you some old scanned Globe articles - PM me with your email address if you want them - but they're still under copyright so I cannot post them here.
User avatar
Posts: 2538
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:16 pm
Location: Waiting for the N Judah

Re: Red Line Tunnel Fires

Postby Head-end View » Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:52 pm

One of those fires was described in detail by retired Boston Fire Commissioner Leo Stapleton in his book Thirty Years On The Line published in 1983. He told about the firefighting crews finding the body of the deceased passenger as they made the long, time consuming hose stretch into the tunnel from South Station. He gives the date as Jan. 4th 1973 at about 7AM.

He also tells about the improvements that were made using Federal funding in the years following those fires. He confirms the cause of the fires as being defective electrical contact equipment and says the problem was corrected after the fires.
Head-end View
Posts: 2557
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:00 pm
Location: The second row on a SEPTA Silverliner V

Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests