Smoky Orange Line Train Scares Passengers

There were no injuries after the incident at State Street Station.

Orange Line

Passengers jump through windows on an Orange Line train at State Street Station. Photo by Florian Penzkofer

A dislodged body panel from a subway car was the source of a scary ride for Orange Line commuters on two different subway trains Tuesday night.

Shortly before 8:30 p.m., a panel on an Orange Line car landed on the third rail in State Street Station, creating a “heavy smoke condition” that knocked the train out of service. Shortly after the train was removed without incident, a second Orange Line train entered the station and hit the body panel. The impact with the discarded body panel on the tracks created additional smoke in the station and disabled that train, too. The incident with the second train occurred in such a manner that the train did not properly berth in State Street Station, prompting doors on the Orange Line cars to not open.

As the smoke grew, passengers in some trains broke the windows in cars in order to escape. According to the fire department, however, there was not a fire at the station.

“Just some equipment underneath the train was causing marking underneath the tracks and it created some smoke,” said Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.

No one was injured in the mishap, though the scene looked quite ominous. The incident moved the MBTA to inspect all of its Orange Line trains on Tuesday for any additional issues. The MBTA did reinforce panels on 13 cars after the inspections “out of an abundance of caution” according to a MassDOT spokesperson.

The MBTA is investigating the incident. At this time, they believe the panel struck a wall somewhere in the tunnel near the station.