MBTA Passengers Kick Out Windows of Smoky Red Line Train

Transit officials said there was no need to do that.

Image via Catherine Groux

Image via Catherine Groux

Things got “pretty crazy” during the Thursday morning commute on the Red Line.

After the propulsion system failed on an inbound Red Line train as it pulled into Quincy Center station around 7:20 a.m., smoke started to rise from the vehicle, causing commuters to react quickly by smashing out the train’s windows to help people trapped inside get out safely.

“The doors on one of the trains wasn’t opening, and people started panicking,” said Catherine Groux, who was waiting for the train when it pulled up and started spewing smoke.

Groux said people assumed there was a fire on the train, and after trying to pry the doors open to let passengers off, riders resorted to breaking the windows instead. “People started punching and kicking open the doors to get people out of there,” said Groux. “People got out through the broken windows. The crowd was helping people step up and get through the windows of the train. The crowd became extremely energetic, and everyone began panicking, which fueled the entire situation.”

But MBTA officials said there was “absolutely no reason” for riders to break the windows, since “there was no danger, and no one was injured” as a result of the faulty propulsion system. “The MBTA was opening the doors when a person decided to kick out a window. There was no reason for him to do that,” said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo. “There was no smoke inside the car.”

Transit officials said they are tallying up damage estimates, but a total of six windows were broken.

The faulty equipment caused severe delays on the Red Line during the morning commute. A second train was also removed from service due to mechanical issues, making matters worse. “Customers were accommodated by commuter rail trains and buses,” Pesaturo said.

Groux said she waited for more than 30 minutes for additional trains to arrive before the crowds of passengers became too much and she resorted to working from home.

She said in the years she has been riding the MBTA, she has never seen anything like what happened on Thursday, but felt riders who kicked out the windows were justified in their actions. “If there was a fire, then it would have been the only way to get people out. In retrospect, it looks like a little much, but had there been a fire they would have said people reacted appropriately,” she said.

Image via Catherine Groux

Image via Catherine Groux