Last Thursday morning for about four hours, there was absolute pandemonium for Blue Line commuters. For the second time in less than two weeks an MBTA Blue Line train lost power and was stuck in the tunnel between Maverick and Aquarium stations.
Those stuck on the train were forced to evacuate through the rear of the stricken train and walk on the tracks back to Maverick Station in Eastie.
Stella Rey Cardinale, a commuter, was on the train went she said she heard the train make a loud noise and explosion. She said there was a flash of light after the noise and then the train shut down.
Without power the packed train’s air conditioning system shut down and people aboard compared the atmosphere inside the train to a sauna.
After about 15 minutes on what Cardinale called a ‘super hot’ train, MBTA officials began evacuating passengers back to Maverick Station.
With the stalled train in the tunnel the streets above turned into gridlock as the MBTA brought in shuttle buses to Maverick and Airport Stations.
Lu Ann Romano Arciero was aboard a Blue Line train that was held at Airport station.
“I was stuck at airport station no one gave us information we just had to get off the train,” she said.
As passengers filed out to Maverick Square and Bremen Street outside Airport, Eastie’s roadways became congested as many commuters decided to call a Lyft or Uber to get to downtown. The added automobiles flocking to Eastie to pick up frustrated commuters only increased the daily traffic the neighborhood experiences on a daily basis.
Rep. Adrian Madaro (D-East Boston) was just as frustrated as the passengers that were stuck both last Thursday and the previous Tuesday on MBTA Blue Line trains that lost power.
Madaro said while he applauds the efforts of the MBTA to certain projects promised to Blue Line passengers to make commuting easier–like the possible Red/Blue Line connector, he is disappointed that his testimony at a hearing back in February regarding power upgrades for the Blue Line fell on deaf ears.
“It is also important, while we look to fulfill these long-sought new connections, that current infrastructure is also being maintained and improved,” said Madaro. “Communities along the Blue Line corridor are among some of the fastest growing in the region. To support this growth, it is necessary that the Blue Line be retrofitted with new signals and upgraded power. I testified to this fact back in February and said these improvements will increase the efficiency of the line and ensure that delays and track issues become less frequent. We are all familiar with the problems that signal and power issues can cause, including delays, halted trains, and the congestion resulting from backup. We need to think about additional capacity along the Blue Line corridor, and these signal and power upgrades are the first step in continuing and enhancing current levels of service and avoid the issues we’ve seen in the past two weeks.”