In response to the multiple derailments of the MBTA Commuter Rail, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) sent a letter to MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack requesting information regarding oversight procedures and safety practices of the MBTA Commuter Rail system and its operator, Keolis Commuter Services. This letter was co-signed by all other members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation; Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA), Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA), Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Congressman Bill Keating (D-MA); and all members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation; Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI), Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI).
“As members whose constituents rely on Keolis to operate the Commuter Rail in a safe and reliable manner, we are concerned about the recent repeated train derailments in the system,” wrote Rep. Lynch. “These derailments have occurred on trains operated by Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis) and have raised questions about the company’s safety protocols and practices. These incidents also have caused unacceptable service delays. It has come to our attention that Keolis has reduced the time allotted for mechanical inspections of rail cars and deferred or rescheduled needed maintenance in order to maintain on-time service performance.”
The letter asks for Secretary Pollack’s response to questions such as what oversight practices are currently in place to ensure Keolis and other contractors follow all safety requirements, and what procedures the MBTA has in place to review safety practices following a rail incident. Over the last several months there have been three commuter train derailments, one of which was caused by an out-of-service train collision. There were no injuries due to the trains’ low speeds when the incidents occurred, however the outcomes could have been much worse had they been traveling at higher speeds.