Driverless Boston Commuter Train Carrying 50 Makes It Through 4 Stops Before Humans Catch On, Stop It

UPDATE: Governor Charlie Baker says there’s evidence someone with train smarts tampered with the system.

“This train was tampered with, and it was tampered with by somebody who knew what they were doing,” Baker said during an interview on Boston Herald Radio, reported by CBS News. He added that it was an “isolated” incident and said MBTA passengers shouldn’t be worried.

Though initial reports said no one was injured, the train’s operator suffered a minor injury when he was brushed by the train, apparently as it began to move at the station.


A six-car Boston commuter train carrying 50 passengers left a station and traveled through four stops with no one behind the controls this morning, before transit officials caught on and stopped it. Did the train suddenly gain awareness and decide to leave the station all by itself? Probably not.

A Red Line train left the southernmost stop on its route shortly after 6 a.m. on Thursday without an operator, and traveled north toward Boston. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority operators were finally able to disable the train and bring it to a stop by cutting off the power to the electrified third rail, officials said in a statement (via the Associated Press).

Transit personnel hopped on at that point and drove it to another stop to allow passengers to disembark. The train was taken out of service while the MBTA investigates.

No one was hurt as a result of the train’s driverless joyride, the MBTA says, and officials are investigating whether someone possibly tampered with a safety device in the train’s cab.

“Passenger safety is the highest priority for the MBTA and this highly troubling incident is under investigation by Transit Police detectives,” Frank DePaola, general manager of the MBTA said in a statement.

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