Fire on Subway Delays Red Line Commuters
After a flaming gear box on a Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) train caused the evacuation of Kendall Square station yesterday afternoon, an estimated 5000 passengers experienced subway delays of more than an hour.
Smoke and open flames emmenated from the gear box, but all the passengers immediately left from the train, and no one was injured. The direct cause of the flames has not yet been determined.
An MBTA official said yesterday that while smoking gear boxes cause delays occasionally, fires with open flames are "much more rare."
All power at the Central Square, Kendall Square and Charles St. T stops was shut down, and the fire department came to extinguish the fire.
Fire officials gave the station the all clear within half an hour, but because the train's gear box was destroyed, the four-car train could not be removed for an hour.
Harried commuters waited while another train was brought in to tow away the damaged one and clear the line to restore service. Bus shuttles were available during the delay, but many commuters chose to wait on the stationary trains rather than brave the heavy afternoon traffic.
The fire at Kendall Square Station, which is situated between Harvard Square Station and Boston, affected many Harvard Square commuters. While most passengers said they were resigned to wait out the delay, one frantic baseball fan said, "I've never had to wait like this before. I've been here for 45 minutes, and I have to be at Fenway Park by 5:30."
Luckily for him, service was restored to normal by 4:50.
"There must have been a lot of passengers affected," said the MBTA official, "especially with the World Series going on, but we got the trains going in time for rush hour."