12/24/2008

Fatal accident at Hyde Park Commuter Rail Station

Around 6:00 or so, I heard a call over the police radio that Engine 48/Ladder 28 were needed at Hyde Park Station. Then, police and ambulance units were required at the same.

I went down there around 6:45 or so to figure out what was going on. Hyde Park CR station usually has three tracks - tracks 3 (outbound) and 2 (inbound) are local, and track 1 is express. Passengers coming in from track 3 go up the ramp, across the bridge, and then down the other ramp to the parking lot. There is a huge fence that is usually treated with lubricants so people can't go over it, but usually they are successful.

From the ramp Track 3, I now understood what was going on. The person who attempted to cross the tracks met their fate with a speeding Northeast Regional train, which usually goes through Hyde Park around 100mph.

The Boston Police that were there spotted us from the Track 3 ramp and ordered us to move away. A few minutes later an officer taped up both the stairs and the ramps to both sides of Hyde Park Station to get rid of "gawkers". When he returned from his duty, the officer told the three of us, "Say a prayer."

Some people lose their lives through no will of their own. Others lose it through temper, impatience, or just plain ignorance. Instead of exchanging gifts and enjoying a Christmas dinner, a family will be rushing to the hospital, and have the somber and unlucky duty of identifying the body. That extra minute or two of crossing over the bridge and not using the fence could have prevented that victim's family from making funeral arrangements. If they were lucky to survive, they still would have faced lengthy rehabilitation or a lifetime in a wheelchair.

UPDATE 12/24: According to 7News, the person who tried to cross the tracks has been confirmed killed. No names have been forthcoming, although it seems that the person who tried to cross was trespassing at the time.

UPDATE 12/25: The woman who was killed was identified as Patricia Jeannetti, 48. She was struck on Track 2, as Track 3 is not electrified. The train that likely struck her was Northeast Regional Train #177, which departs at 5:35 from South Station but was likely delayed due to heavy demand. There is a train that arrives at Hyde Park at 5:59, so perhaps she either (a) was trespassing as Amtrak had stated or (b) was getting off the 5:59 and tried to cross the railroad tracks to get to the parking lot.

UPDATE 1/4/09: The Bulletin Newspapers talks about the accident and quotes this very website. Thanks, folks.

2 comments:

akafnulnu said...

Unfortunately this is a common occurrence. I'm not sure of the best way to educate the public, but maybe the best way is to put the raw footage on TV news. I'm sure some will be offended by this but these are probably the same people who cross the tracks illegally. As for the police who say that person was trespassing. Isn't the train station and the tracks; railroad property? Please be careful to all this Holiday Season.

Cleary Squared said...

It's both Amtrak and MBCR property. Yes, people will be grossed out by this accident, but it certainly won't prevent them from doing it again in the future, unless Amtrak/MBCR puts up even higher fences OR shifts all it operation to Track 1.

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