MBTA1075 NECN reported that MassODOT investigators are looking at possible causes of a Boston Red Line train that departed the station and ran for nine minutes without an operator, yet with passengers on board. The incident occurred early morning on Thursday, December 10.

The operator suffered minor injuries; no passengers were injured.

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Jephthe Chery_Fotor
Chery

It wasn’t unusual to see commuter rail conductor Jephthe Chery at work seven days a week as he tried to rise quickly in the company, former colleagues say.

Coworkers described Chery — who died after being caught in crossfire early Thanksgiving outside a Fenway Park bar — as a friendly and tireless worker always game to pick up an extra shift. Police called Chery an “innocent” who was felled by bullets intended for someone else.

Sheldon Dowling, who used to clean commuter rail coaches with Chery, said his close friend didn’t want to be the only one with ambition: He pushed friends and relatives to follow his lead.

 Read more from The Boston Globe.

Chery Family prepares for funeral

A wake for Chery will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at St. Angela Catholic Church in Mattapan, said the Rev. Gustave Miracle. His funeral will be at St. Angela at 9 a.m. Saturday, followed by a gathering in the church basement.

Read more about Chery’s funeral arrangements from The Boston Globe.

GoFundMe account set up to help with funeral expenses

The GoFundMe account has been set up by Chery’s childhood friend to help defer the costs of a funeral. The GoFundMe page reads: 

“My name is Charldyn Valcin, and I met Jephthe in middle school, and years later, he still remained like a brother to me. Jephthe was a great man, dedicated son, phenomenal big brother, hardworking conductor, and an amazing Godfather. Truly, the list can go on and on, because he touched so many individuals during his time on this earth. I, and others who care about Jephthe, are looking to raise this money in order to help his family with the costs of his home going services. Jephthe left an impact on so many of our lives, and now it is our time to tell him thank you! We really need to get the funds as soon as possible, in order for his family to be able to move forward. Please donate whatever you can.”

Click here to make a contribution to the Chery family.

Chery worked as a conductor for MBTA and was a member of SMART TD Local 898 of Boston.

NTSB_logo President Barack Obama on Tuesday, July 28, nominated Beverly Scott, the former general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), for membership on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Scott served as the MBTA’s general manager until April 2015, when she stepped down following severe weather-related service disruptions. She began her stint at the agency in December 2012, and previously served as chief executive officer and general manager of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary Stephanie Pollack tapped Brian Shortsleeve to serve as the MBTA’s chief administrator.

Read more from Progressive Railroading

FRA_logo_words Officials from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Keolis Commuter Services, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and four labor unions signed an agreement May 8 that would implement a federal close-call reporting system designed to improve safety.

The FRA’s Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) allows any employee to anonymously report safety-related issues or concerns without fear of facing sanctions. The C3RS program is the first of its kind in Massachusetts.

At a ceremony held at Keolis’ Boston headquarters, officials from the American Train Dispatchers Association, Transportation Communications Union, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and SMART Transportation Division joined MBTA, Keolis and FRA representatives to sign the memorandum of understanding to implement the voluntary reporting system.

Read more from Progressive Railroading.

 

DOT_Logo_150px SOMERVILLE, Mass. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a $996 million federal grant agreement to extend Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Green Line light rail service from East Cambridge to Somerville and Medford. The extension will provide faster and more efficient travel to jobs in downtown Boston and will serve some of the region’s most densely populated communities. Secretary Foxx and Acting Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan participated in a ceremony to commit the funds with Governor Deval Patrick, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congressman Michael Capuano, representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and MBTA, and other officials.

“This project will put time back in the lives of commuters along this corridor, but the real story is about the potential for change this smart investment will bring for residents,” said Secretary Foxx. “We are proud to support projects like this one  because when you connect people to more jobs, education, and medical care, you create the ladders to opportunity that strengthen families and the communities in which they live.”

The 4.7-mile light rail extension will extend existing MBTA Green Line service from a relocated Lechmere Station in East Cambridge to Union Square in Somerville and College Avenue in Medford. The project will serve some of the Boston region’s most heavily populated areas not currently served by rail transit – where 26 percent of residents do not own or have access to cars.

“The Green Line extension will improve transit options for residents of Somerville and Medford by eliminating the need for bus to rail transfers and providing a one-seat transit ride to thousands of jobs in downtown Boston and along the Green Line,” said Acting Federal Transit Administrator McMillan. “This project will make a huge difference for thousands of residents along the corridor who need and deserve reliable access to jobs and educational opportunities throughout the Boston metropolitan area.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation will contribute approximately $996 million in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment Grant Program (New Starts) funding over the course of the $2.3 billion project. State funding sources will cover the remainder.

MBTA estimates the new extended light rail line will provide approximately 37,900 daily trips when the extension opens in 2021. The project will include construction of six new stations, purchase of 24 new light rail vehicles, construction of a new vehicle maintenance facility, construction of a community bicycle and pedestrian path in Somerville, and relocation of some existing commuter rail track.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) will recommend to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s board that CNR MA Corp. manufacture 284 new subway cars for the agency’s Red and Orange lines, Gov. Deval Patrick announced yesterday.

The board is scheduled to meet today to consider the recommended contract with CNR, which is a joint venture of China CNR Corp. Ltd. and CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles Co. Ltd.

Read the complete story at Progressive Railroading.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s board of directors today unanimously voted to accept the T’s recommendation that Keolis, a French rail company, take over operation of the state’s commuter rail system, winning the state’s largest operating contract in history.

MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott recommended Keolis as the winning bidder, after the board listened to roughly two hours of public comments.

Read the complete story at the Boston Globe.

The Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. is crying foul at what they are calling a flawed procurement process that included few substantial conversations, a complaint lodged with the MBTA before the Globe reported Saturday that the T will recommend that the company’s sole competitor be awarded the state’s lucrative commuter rail operating contract.

In a statement from the company Sunday, accompanied by a letter that had been sent to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s general counsel Thursday, the company alleged that only one in-person discussion had been held between T officials and the MBCR during months of investigations and vetting — not enough, MBCR officials said, to provide the company with any real chance to explain the new ideas it had planned if it were to continue running the commuter train system.

Read the complete story at The Boston Globe.