Freight car hits commuter train

March 25, 2008 5:34:28 PM PDT
A train car loaded with lumber hit a stationary commuter train during the Tuesday afternoon rush hour, injuring dozens of people, authorities said. About 50 people reported mostly minor injuries, and 10 passengers and crew members were taken to hospitals, said Scott Farmelant, a spokesman for Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail. He said he did not know the extent of those injuries.

The commuter train's locomotive was not moving when it was hit by a CSX freight car that had rolled from a branch onto a main track south of Boston, said Joe Pesaturo, spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The commuter train's engineer was among those injured, he said.

The engineer saw the approaching freight car and stopped the commuter train before the impact, Farmelant said. It was not immediately known how many people were aboard the train.

Passenger, Gary Rozenas, 55, told the Boston Herald that the crash ignited a small brush fire.

"All the lights went out and people were flying down the aisles and people were on the floor of the car," he said. "The car began filling up with dust and the scary part was part of the woods was burning up outside the doors."

Another passenger, 42-year-old Tony Phillips, told The Boston Globe the train stopped suddenly as it approached a station.

"All the sudden, there was a bang. ... People were screaming, 'Oh my God, what happened?"' he said.

The flat car, loaded with lumber, had been placed at a customer's location earlier in the day, said CSX spokesman Gary Sease. The company is cooperating with the investigation, he said.

"Our first concerns are the safety of the passengers and train crew," Sease said.

The commuter train had left Boston's South Station for Stoughton, southeast of Canton. The crash was affecting service on one line, Wilbur said.