We’re Number One! MBTA Trains Had the Most Derailments in the U.S.


Photo by Chris Devers on Flickr/Creative Commons

Photo by Chris Devers on Flickr/Creative Commons

Someone get us a trophy, because we’re number one again. In 2016, the MBTA’s trains saw more derailments than did trains in any other system in the U.S., according to a new survey of federal transportation data in the Globe.

T trains derailed eight times last year: Green Line trolleys six times, maintenance cars twice. That’s the most in the nation. The seven derailments the Green Line saw in 2015 helped it earn the top spot nationwide when it came to the country’s light rail that year. System-wide in 2015, the T had the country’s third-most derailments, behind SEPTA in Philadelphia and BART in San Francisco.

T officials who spoke with the Globe stress that the system is safe, that no one was injured last year, that derailments are rare considering the size of the fleet and how busy the Green Line is, and that a couple of the derailments involved trains that weren’t even carrying passengers.

Derailments have caused injuries in the past, though, like in 2014, when a D train crashed underground near Kenmore station.

The issue of trains jumping the tracks has dogged the system for years, although the T’s record has gotten much better. In 2007, there were 29 derailments. That number has come down considerably since then, but has risen over the past two years. To explain part of this officials point to new requirements that agencies also report derailments on trains that aren’t in service for the commute.

Trailing us last year were the train systems in New Orleans and San Francisco, which saw six derailments apiece.